Goodbye to the term 'ankylosing spondylitis', hello 'axial spondyloarthritis': time to embrace the ASAS-defined nomenclature

Désirée van der Heijde, Anna Molto, Sofia Ramiro, Jürgen Braun, Maxime Dougados, Floris A van Gaalen, Lianne S Gensler, Robert D Inman, Robert B M Landewé, Helena Marzo-Ortega, Victoria Navarro-Compán, Andri Phoka, Denis Poddubnyy, Mikhail Protopopov, John Reveille, Martin Rudwaleit, Percival Sampaio-Barros, Alexandre Sepriano, Joachim Sieper, Filip E Van den BoschIrene van der Horst-Bruinsma, Pedro M Machado, Xenofon Baraliakos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the historic term used for decades for the HLA-B27-associated inflammatory disease affecting mainly the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) and spine. Classification criteria for AS have radiographic sacroiliitis as a dominant characteristic. However, with the availability of MRI of SIJ, it could be demonstrated that the disease starts long before definite SIJ changes become visible on radiographs. The Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society, representing a worldwide group of experts reached consensus on changes in the nomenclature pertaining to axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), such as the terminology of diagnosis and of assessment of disease activity tools. These are important changes in the field, as experts in axSpA are now in agreement that the term axSpA is the overall term for the disease. A further differentiation, of which radiographic versus non-radiographic is only one aspect, may be relevant for research purposes. Another important decision was that the terms AS and radiographic axSpA (r-axSpA) can be used interchangeably, but that the preferred term is r-axSpA. Based on the decision that axSpA is the correct terminology, a proposal was made to officially change the meaning of the ASDAS acronym to 'Axial Spondyloarthritis Disease Activity Score'. In addition, for simplification it was proposed that the term ASDAS (instead of ASDAS-CRP) should be preferred and applied to the ASDAS calculated with C reactive protein (CRP). It is hoped that these changes will be used consequently for education, in textbooks, manuscripts and presentations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-549
JournalAnnals of the rheumatic diseases
Early online date8 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2024


  • low back pain
  • outcome assessment
  • health care
  • spondylitis
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • Ankylosing


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