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Rheumatology practice amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: a pragmatic view
  1. Vasco C Romão1,2,
  2. Inês Cordeiro1,2,
  3. Carla Macieira1,
  4. Filipa Oliveira-Ramos1,2,
  5. José Carlos Romeu1,
  6. Carlos Miranda Rosa1,
  7. Maria João Saavedra1,2,
  8. Fernando Saraiva1,2,
  9. Elsa Vieira-Sousa1,2 and
  10. João Eurico Fonseca1,2
  1. 1 Rheumatology Department, Hospital de Santa Maria, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte, Lisbon Academic Medical Centre, Lisbon, Portugal
  2. 2 Rheumatology Research Unit, Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to João Eurico Fonseca, Rheumatology Department, Hospital de Santa Maria, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte. Av Prof. Egas Moniz, 1649-035 Lisbon, Portugal; jecfonseca{at}


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has come with many challenges for healthcare providers and patients alike. In addition to the direct burden it has placed on societies and health systems, it had a significant impact in the care of patients with chronic diseases, as healthcare resources were deployed to fight the crisis, and major travel and social restrictions were adopted. In the field of rheumatology, this has required notable efforts from departments and clinicians to adapt to the novel status quo and assure the follow-up of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. In the present viewpoint, we provide a practical approach to tackle this reality. Key measures include setting up preventive team management strategies, optimising communication with patients and reorganising patient care in all its dimensions. We then anticipate the nuances of rheumatology practice as restrictive measures are progressively lifted, while an effective vaccine is still pending. This includes the need to reimpose the same strategy as further waves unfold. Finally, we look ahead and address the lessons we can incorporate into post-COVID-19 rheumatology.

  • Lupus Erythematosus
  • Systemic
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Synovitis
  • Vaccination
  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
  • Outcomes research
  • Disease Activity
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed to study conception and design. VCR and JEF drafted the manuscript, which was critically reviewed by all authors. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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