Safety of surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated by abatacept: data from the French Orencia in Rheumatoid Arthritis Registry

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To investigate the frequency and risk factors of postoperative complications in RA patients treated with abatacept (ABA).


The Orencia RA registry recruited 1012 patients receiving ABA for RA in routine care. Data from patients treated with ABA who underwent surgery were reviewed to describe the frequency of postoperative complications. Characteristics of patients and surgeries with and without complications were compared to identify factors associated with complications.


We identified 205 (20.3%) patients who underwent 263 surgeries, including 176 (66.9%) orthopaedic surgeries. Nineteen (7.2%) surgeries, in 19 patients (9.3%), entailed complications, including 7 delayed wound healing (2.7% of surgeries) and 6 surgical site infections (2.3% of surgeries). The median time between the last infusion of ABA and surgery was 5.9 weeks (range: 0.3-12.0 weeks), with no significant difference between patients with and without complications. The median corticosteroids daily dosage was higher in the group with complications [10.0 (6.25-15.0) vs 6.0 (5.0-10.0) mg/day, P = 0.042]. In multivariate analysis, only the duration of ABA treatment was significantly associated with postoperative complications [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.94 (95% CI: 0.89, 0.99) for each month of treatment], as were orthopaedic surgeries compared with other kinds of surgery [aOR = 4.45 (95% CI: 1.01, 20.2)].


In RA patients treated with ABA, the rate of surgical complications was low: 7.2% and higher in case of orthopaedic procedure and a more recent initiation of ABA. The median time between surgery and the last infusion of ABA was short and did not influence the rate of postoperative complications.

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