The family members of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at increased risk of developing RA and are potential candidates for predictive testing.
A study has been published in BMJ Open exploring the perceptions of first-degree relatives of people with rheumatoid arthritis about being at risk of RA and taking in predictive testing.
Researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 34 first-degree relatives (siblings and offspring) of patients with RA from the UK, Germany and Austria.
First-degree relatives were aware of their susceptibility to RA, but were unsure of the extent of their risk. When considering their future risk, some relatives were concerned about the potential impact that RA would have on their lives.
Relatives were concerned that knowing their actual risk would increase their anxiety and would affect decisions about their future. Also, relatives were concerned about the levels of uncertainty associated with predictive testing.
Those in favour of knowing their future risk felt that they would need additional support to understand the risk information and cope with the emotional impact of this information.
The full study can be read on the BMJ Open website.
Stack RJ, Stoffer M, Englbrecht M, et al. Perceptions of risk and predictive testing held by the first-degree relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in England, Austria and Germany: a qualitative study. BMJ Open 2016;6: e010555. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2015-010555