Session Type: Poster Session D
Session Time: 1:00PM-3:00PM
Background/Purpose: The preselection of patients with suspicion of an inflammatory rheumatic disease is not easy for general practitioners and orthopedists. In countries with a limited number of practicing rheumatologists waiting lists are often long, since a full rheumatologic examination often needs a long consultation time. We aimed to test the performance of an early triage strategy for early identification of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases.
Methods: Prior to the SARS-CoV 2 pandemic, physicians caring for patients contacting a tertiary rheumatologic cente were first contacted by a health-care professional (HPR) who offered an appointment the timing of which was based on the symptoms reported (Step 1). Patients were then seen by a rheumatologist who, within a 10-minute consultation (Step 2), shortly examined the patient to determine the urgency of a planned full work up. The main outcome of the study was the comparison between the initial assessment and the final expert diagnosis (Step 3).
Results: Within 9 months, physicians caring for 1.180 patients contacted the hospital, 972 of whom kept their appointment (82.4%). Most patients were transferred by GPs (73.1%) and orthopedists (22.1%). The mean time between Step 1 and Step 2 was 10.4 days, while 6.2% of patients were seen within 4 days, 24.4% within 7 days and 69.3% within 12 weeks. Only 36 patients (3.7%) of patients had an already established rheumatic disease. Complaints lasting between 0-4 weeks were reported by 69 (7.1%), of > 4-12 weeks by 100 (10.3%), and of > 12 weeks by 973 (82.6%) patients. Almost 90% of patients reported a pain intensity >4/10 (NRS) for < 2 weeks. An elevated CRP was found in 207 patients (24.5%). Prior treatment with glucocorticoids was reported in 163 (16.8%) and with NSAIDs in 730 (75.1% of) patients. The confirmed diagnosis at Step 3 was rheumatoid arthritis in 127 (13.1%), spondyloarthritis including psoriatic arthritis in 72 (7.4%), systemic diseases including connective tissue diseases in 112 (11.5%), vasculitides in 41 (4.2%), and crystal arthropathy in 38 (3.9%) patients, while 38 (3.9%) had an infection, a malignancy or a differential diagnosis such as Raynaud's phenomenon or sicca syndrome. Degenerative joint diseases (n=254; 26.1%) and non-inflammatory soft tissue syndromes such as fibromyalgia (n=369; 38%) accounted for more than half of the patients.
Conclusion: This study describes the performance of a standardized triage system hereby confirming the need for an early identification and preselection of patients with rheumatic musculoskeletal symptoms, including involvement of HPRs in the initial phase of contact. Based on the results, three patients with musculoskeletal complaints had to be examined in order to identify one patient with an inflammatory rheumatic disease.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Baraliakos X, Redeker I, Zacharopoulou M, Tsiami S, Braun J. Performance of an Early Triage System for Identification of Patients with Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2022; 74 (suppl 9). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/performance-of-an-early-triage-system-for-identification-of-patients-with-inflammatory-rheumatic-diseases/. Accessed .
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