To identify whether rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with driving ability and/or the use of assistive devices or modifications to improve driving ability.
We conducted a systematic literature review following PRISMA guidelines of RA and driving ability/adaptations by searching multiple databases from inception to April 2018. Eligible studies were original articles in the English language with quantitative data regarding the study objective and had at least 5 RA patients. Similar outcomes were extracted across studies and grouped into categories for review.
Our search yielded 1935 potential reports, of which 22 fulfilled eligibility criteria, totaling 6285 RA patients. The prevalence of driving issues with RA was highly variable among the studies. Some of the shared themes addressed in these publications included RA in association with rates of motor vehicle crashes, self-reported driving difficulty, inability to drive, use of driving adaptations, use of assistance by other people for transport, and difficulty with general transportation.
Recognizing variability among individual reports, driving difficulties and the use of driving adaptations are relatively common in those with RA. Given the central importance of automobile driving for the quality of life of RA patients, further investigations of driving ability and potential driving adaptations that can help to overcome barriers to safe driving are needed.