Spondyloarthritis (Ankylosing Spondylitis)

Availability

North South North West Statewide

Pre-referral work-up

History

  • Onset of condition (age<45 years)
  • Pain pattern – back pain, morning stiffness duration
  • Family history
  • Social/work history
  • Functional capacity
  • Current and past medications
  • Current and past therapies

If the diagnosis is established refer if:

  • Worsening of disability
  • Threat to independence
  • Difficulty with employment.
  • Assistance with self-management
  • Optimisation of pharmacological (e.g. biologic) and non-pharmacological management

Tests

  • FBE
  • ESR or CRP
  • LFT
  • U&E
  • HLA B27

Interim/GP management

To refer a patient with this condition, please see the Inflammatory Spinal clinic page for the full referral process and templates.

Consider paracetamol and NSAIDS to reduce symptoms.

Physical therapies. Regular exercise, stretching, weight control, heat and ice may improve symptoms and maintain mobility.

Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) and Biologic agents may be advised by the consultant.

For more information please see the Tasmanian Health Pathways website.

Emergency

Febrile patients with acute exacerbation of back pain

Urgent / category 1

Clinic not suitable for urgent referrals (as per scope)

Semi-urgent / category 2

Severely incapacitating disease

Evidence of active and/ or progressive arthritis

Elevated inflammatory markers

Routine / category 3

Clinical signs of spondyloarthritis not evident.

Red flags are clinical indicators of possible serious underlying conditions requiring further medical intervention. They may or may not indicate an emergency.

Patient information advice is found at Arthritis Australia

Emergency:

* Fever

* Neurological signs

* Cauda equina signs

Proceed to Emergency Department (ED).
LGH ED Reception  – Phone: (03) 6777 6405  Fax: (03) 6777 5201
MCH ED* – Phone: (03) 6478 5120  Fax: (03) 6441 5923
NWRH ED* – Phone: (03) 6493 6351 Fax: (03) 6464 1926
RHH ED Reception – Phone: (03) 6166 6100  Fax: (03) 6173 0489

Advice for medical practitioners can be given by the Medical Officer In Charge (MOIC) - see HealthPathways Tasmania for contact information.
*MCH and NWRH MOICs request GPs call them prior to referring a patient to ensure the patient is being sent appropriately to a safe destination.

Urgent:

We will endeavour to see these patients within four weeks

Semi-urgent:

We will endeavour to see these patients within 12 weeks

Routine:

Next available appointment