Inflammatory Arthritis

Availability

North South North West Statewide

Pre-referral work-up

History

All referrals should comply to referral standards and include in particular:

  • Documentation of duration of morning stiffness, presence of joint swelling, metatarsal squeeze test
  • Constitutional symptoms including weight loss
  • History of uveitis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, tendinitis, sicca symptoms, Raynaud's
  • Functional impairment
  • Occupation and social situation
  • Relevant family history
  • Precipitating events – e.g. recent gut, urinary, Strep infections

Where the diagnosis is previously established then periodic review by a Rheumatologist is recommended or if:

  • Systemic symptoms.
  • Increasing deformity
  • Worsening of disability
  • Threat to independence
  • Difficulty with employment
  • Assistance needed with self management

Tests

  • FBE
  • LFT + U&E
  • ESR and CRP
  • RhF, Anti-CCP, ANA

Interim/GP management

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

Consider paracetamol and NSAIDS to reduce symptoms.

Short courses of oral corticosteroids may be appropriate.

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

For more information please see the Tasmanian Health Pathways website.

Emergency

Features of septic arthritis

Urgent / category 1

Contact registrar or consultant for management advice or earlier appointment

Semi-urgent / category 2

Active Inflammatory Arthritis

Routine / category 3

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:

Proceed to Emergency Department (ED). Please contact ED Medical Officer in Charge:
LGH ED
– Phone: (03) 6777 6405  Fax: (03) 6348 7382
MCH ED
– Phone: (03) 6478 5120  Fax: (03) 6441 5923
NWRH ED
– Phone: (03) 6493 6340  Fax: (03) 6464 1926
RHH ED
– Phone: (03) 6166 6100  Fax: (03) 6173 0489

Urgent:

Please discuss with registrar or consultant. We will endeavour to see these patients within four weeks.

Urgent referrals (e.g. temporal arteritis, septic arthritis) should be accompanied by a phone call to the Rheumatology Registrar or Consultant for urgent assessment, or patient should be directed to the Emergency Department.

Semi-urgent:

We will endeavour to see these patients within 12 weeks

Routine:

Next available appointment