Driving difficulties in patients with axial spondyloarthritis: Results from the Scotland Registry for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Lakrista Morton, Gary Macfarlane, Gareth Jones, Karen Walker-Bone, Rosemary Hollick* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objectives: To describe the driving difficulties experienced by individuals with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), and characterise associated clinical and sociodemographic features, and impact on work.

Method: The Scotland Registry for Ankylosing Spondylitis (SIRAS) is a cohort study of patients with a clinical diagnosis of axSpA. Baseline information was collected on clinical and patient-reported measures, and work participation measures (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire: Specific Health Problem (WPAI: SHP)). Patient-rated difficulties with nine driving tasks were used in a factor analysis, and relationships between driving difficulty and work participation investigated.

Results: 718 patients provided data for analysis, of which 642 (89%) had some difficulty with at least one driving task and 72 (10%) had some difficulty with all nine tasks. Three domains of driving difficulty were identified: dynamic driving scenarios, crossing traffic, and the physical act of driving. Chronic widespread pain, knee and back pain, fatigue, high disease activity and anxiety/depression were significantly associated with reporting driving difficulties across all three domains, particularly the physical act of driving. After adjusting for socio-demographic, disease activity, physical and mental health, driving difficulties in each domain were associated with a 2-3 times increased likelihood of restricted work productivity and with an increased risk of sickness absence in the past seven days.

Conclusion: Driving difficulties are common in individuals with axSpA and impact on work, even after adjusting for clinical status. Improving understanding and awareness of driving disability will help direct advice and resources to enable individuals to remain independent and economically active.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-1549
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Issue number9
Early online date18 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


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