Background Current recommendations on the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis put much emphasis on non-pharmacological management. They are, however, not sufficiently specific about the content, timing, intensity, frequency, duration and mode of delivery.
Objectives The aim of this project is to develop evidence and expert opinion-based EULAR recommendations for non-pharmacological management of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee and propose a future research agenda.
Methods A Steering Group consisting of 22 participants was established in February 2011. The group consists of the convenor and co-applicants, experts (rheumatology health professionals, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, general practitioners and people with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis), a clinical epidemiologist and a person in charge of the literature search. A preliminary literature search of practice guidelines and overviews of reviews was performed to obtain an overview of current recommendations and addressed treatment modalities. The results from the preliminary literature search and potential topics for propositions were discussed at the first Steering Group meeting in June 2011, where 17 of the participants were present. A Delphi procedure was held by e-mail between July and October 2011. All participants contributed actively in all Delphi rounds. A specific literature search for each proposition is currently in progress in electronic databases (Medline, Embase, AMED, PsychINFO, CINAHL, PEDro, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, DARE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials). Retrieved studies on effectiveness of relevant interventions will be methodologically evaluated and the level of evidence on interventions will be graded using EULAR 1 to 4 grades. During the second Steering Group meeting in May 2012, evidence will be reviewed and expert opinion will be documented where evidence is insufficient or absent. Recommendations will then be finalized with the strength of each recommendation graded from A to D.
Results Eleven propositions were agreed after five Delphi rounds. The full set of recommendations, evidence level and strength of recommendation for each of the proposition, and a proposed research agenda for identified evidence gaps will be presented at the EULAR Congress in June 2012.
Conclusions This project will yield a set of recommendations for the non-pharmacological management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, based on evidence and expert opinion, and employing a systematic literature search and Delphi techniques. In addition, the project will identify areas of interest where research is lacking, resulting in a research agenda. The results of this project will contribute to the quality of care for people with hip and knee osteoarthritis across Europe.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared