Improving delays to diagnosis of Spondyloarthritis: recognition and referral of suspected axial and peripheral spondyloarthritis, and NICE recommendations on treatments
Spondyloarthritis is a group of inflammatory conditions that mimic common musculoskeletal problems. Delays in diagnosis average up to 8-9 years for many people, despite significant advances in research and imaging, because it is often not recognised in musculoskeletal assessments. Screening for suspected spondyloarthritis (SpA) and when to refer onto rheumatology is an essential a core skill in clinical assessments.
Musculoskeletal clinicians are key to early diagnosis to help reduce the significant immediate and long-term impacts of these inflammatory diseases. Spondyloarthritis can be challenging to recognise and often mistaken as chronic mechanical low back pain or unrelated tendon and joint problems. The inflammatory disease links between persistent back pain, peripheral problems and extra-articular inflammatory manifestations are often missed in clinical practice. Knowing what features should raise suspicion of spondyloarthritis and when to refer onto rheumatology is an important aspect of musculoskeletal clinical practice, along with a multidisciplinary team approach to management.
NICE Guidance has developed clinical guidance to support earlier recognition, diagnosis, treatment and other important considerations in people diagnosed with SpA. This study day aims to enable clinicians to develop their clinical knowledge and skills to screen for suspected spondyloarthritis within musculoskeletal assessments, when to refer and NICE recommendations on management.