African Journal of Rheumatology

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Prevalence of abnormal liver function tests in rheumatoid arthritis

A Olago-Rakuomi, GO Oyoo, E Kamau, E Genga, F Okalebo, E Ogutu


Objective: To determine the prevalence of Abnormal Liver Function Tests (LFTs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis at the rheumatology out-patient clinic, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Rheumatology out-patient clinic at KNH.
Participants: One hundred and seven RA patients.
Results: The overall prevalence of abnormal LFTs in the study population was 57%. The most common abnormal LFTs were direct bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which were elevated in 34.6% and 15% of the study population, respectively. Abnormal direct bilirubin was associated with longer duration of disease; adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) 0.54 (0.34, 0.86) p-value 0.009 and higher disease activity, adjusted OR 2.79 (1.23, 6.25) p-value 0.014. Abnormal ALP was significantly associated with BMI, adjusted OR 0.205 (0.074, 0.57), p-value 0.002 as well as duration of disease, adjusted OR 1.14 (1.013, 1.29), p-value 0.031.
Conclusion: This study found the prevalence of liver dysfunction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis to be high, at 57%, and recommends regular monitoring of liver function tests in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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