The Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit's Information Team have been working with colleagues from the LMBRU and the University of Leeds to develop and distribute an online questionnaire to identify the awareness of the axial spondyloarthritis in secondary care across the UK.
Awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and Axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA) in general is low in the UK with an average delay of 7 years from the onset of symptoms to receiving a diagnosis. This in turn, translates into delayed access to treatment which may lead to irreversible damage, permanent pain and disability in affected individuals.
There is emerging evidence suggesting that the first weeks and months after onset of symptoms may represent a ‘window of opportunity’, and it is crucial that people get appropriate treatment in that time period to avoid long term complications. The costs to the NHS and society attached to treating these patients at later stages when bone ankylosis has occurred are enormous.
The key symptom in early axSpA is inflammatory back pain.
However, mechanical and non-specific low back pain is very common and inflammatory back pain, which is relatively rare, can get missed. As secondary care physicians it is possible you may encounter patients with inflammatory back pain.
The aim of this survey is to assess current knowledge and practice of secondary care practitioners in assessing patients with axial SpA.