PhD student René Cordtz earned his medical degree from the University of Copenhagen in 2014. René has been involved in and undertaken several epidemiological studies in the field of rheumatology since 2013, during his last years of med-school. Previous studies have focused on various aspects of adverse events, mainly cancer, following biological DMARD treatment. As a medical student, he gave an oral presentation at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, 2014. He is the first author of two papers published in high-impact journals (1,2). He has served as supervisor for two medical students writing their master theses in rheumatology. He has had one year of clinical experience, but decided to do a PhD before specializing in rheumatology. He has been affiliated with the Department of Rheumatology at Gentofte Hospital since 2013 and The Parker Institute since 2015. René was enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen in April 2016.
René´s project evolves around various aspects of rheumatoid arthritis and total joint replacements: Approximately 40 % of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) will require a total hip (THR) or knee replacement (TKR) following arthritis-related joint destruction. Biological DMARDs are expensive but effective anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce disease activity in RA. It is currently unknown if this translates into reduced needs of THR and TKR in RA patients. THR and TKR are major surgeries and, although rare, serious complications can occur. Prosthetic joint infection is perhaps the most dreaded complication. In general, RA is a risk factor for infections; but the relative contributions of immunosuppressive drugs, including biological DMARDs, and increased disease activity are unknown. Through epidemiological, nationwide register-based studies, his PhD study aims to investigate the development in incidence of joint replacements among RA patients with emphasis on the potential impact of biological DMARDs. Furthermore, he will investigate the risk of surgical and medical complications following THR and TKR in patients with RA compared with OA; again, with special focus on the impact of biological DMARDs.