Background Patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have significantly lower quality of life (QoL) than the general population. Holistic interventions addressing QoL comprise spa- or balneotherapy including radon. These interventions have shown to be beneficial in reducing pain and improving QoL in AS-patients. We explored the association of spa-therapy including low-dose radon with QoL in AS-patients over an extended time period. Methods Registry data collected for the "Radon indication registry" in the Austrian Gastein valley comprising data on QoL (EuroQol EQ-5D) directly before the treatment (baseline), directly(t1), 3 (t2); 6(t3) and 9(t4) months after the treatment, age, sex and body mass index (BMI) were analysed. Linear regression models explored the association of measurement time with 1) EQ-5D-5L utilities and 2) EuroQol visual analogue scale (VAS) score. Alterations of 0.05 (utilities) and 5.00 (VAS) were considered clinically relevant. Results Two-hundred-ninety-one AS-patients were included in the analyses. Forty-four percent (n = 128) were women, the mean age was 52 (SD 10) and the average BMI was 26 (SD 4). Utilities (t1: 0.09 [0.07;0.11]; t2: 0.08 [0.06; 0.10]; t3: 0.06 [0.05;0.09]; t4: 0.04 [0.02;0.06]) and VAS (t1: 11.68 [9.38; 13.97]; t2: 12.20 [9.78; 14.61]; t3: 9.70 [7.24; 12.17]; t4: 6.11 [3.57; 8.65]) were significantly higher at all timepoints compared to baseline. Improvements were clinically relevant at all timepoints in case of the VAS and until 6 months after treatment for the utilities. Conclusion AS-patients who received spa therapy including radon show significantly and clinically relevant improvements in Qol until 6-9 months after treatment.
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