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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 22

Rheumatol Int


Knowledge, perceptions, and practices of axial spondyloarthritis diagnosis and management among healthcare professionals: an online cross-sectional survey.


Zimba O, Kocyigit BF, Kadam E, Haugeberg G, Grazio S, Guła Z, Strach M, Korkosz M


Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a group of inflammatory disorders, including axial SpA (axSpA), characterized by inflammation in the spine and sacroiliac joints. Healthcare professionals have a crucial role in diagnosing and managing axSpA. Assessing their knowledge, perceptions, and practices is essential to enhance patient care. The objective of this study is to evaluate these factors by conducting an online survey. This online survey was performed using SurveyMonkey.com to assess healthcare professionals’ knowledge, perceptions, and practices related to axSpA diagnosis, management, and monitoring. The questionnaire included questions about definitions, management strategies, monitoring approaches, treatment options, and barriers to care. Convenience sampling was used, and the data were analyzed descriptively by Microsoft Excel. One hundred sixty-four healthcare professionals participated; most respondents were rheumatologists from various geographic locations (27 countries). Most participants were familiar with axSpA definitions and diagnostic criteria, demonstrating high expertise. Variations were seen in follow-up intervals and diagnostic preferences, reflecting clinical heterogeneity. Seventy-two (43.9%) individuals had a multidisciplinary team, frequently including rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and radiologists. Of the participants, 73 (44.5%) had online/telephone follow-up sessions. The pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment approaches varied, pointing to the importance of personalized care. Glucocorticoid use varied among countries. Recognizing inflammatory back pain, interpreting radiographs, and diagnosing early was essential to medical education. This study provides beneficial data on healthcare professionals’ knowledge, perceptions, and practices regarding axSpA. While diagnostic familiarity and multidisciplinary approach are positives, there is a potential to standardize management, improve telemedicine services, remove barriers to physical activity, and optimize treatment options.