Michael Ehrenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Spondyloarthropathies (SpA) are a group of common inflammatory rheumatic disorders characterised by axial and or peripheral arthritis, associated with enthesitis, dactylitis and potential extra-articular manifestations such as uveitis and skin rash. The diseases, which comprise the group, share a common genetic predisposition, the HLA-B27 gene; however, this association varies markedly among the various SpAs and among different ethnic groups. Environmental factors seem to be triggering the diseases in the genetically predisposed individuals. The radiographic hallmark of the group is sacroiliitis, which when present is of help in the diagnosis. Various sets of diagnostic and classification criteria were developed over the years including the European Spondyloarthropathy Study Group (ESSG) criteria which were until recently the most widely used. The new Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) international working group has recently proposed a new set of diagnostic criteria that would enable identification of SpA before structural changes develop in the spine. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes have now been included in the new classification criteria of early axial SpA and are now considered as a major tool in the diagnosis. Until recently, there were no real disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs which were able to halt the disease progression. Over the past decade, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alfa-blocking agents have been extensively investigated and became the mainstream of therapy providing the patients an effective treatment option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalBest Practice and Research in Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease spondylitis
  • Psoriatic spondylitis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Spondyloarthropathy


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