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Evaluation of a screening tool for inflammatory joint disease
  1. J A Barbour,
  2. J Binding,
  3. M Bridges,
  4. C Kelly
  1. Department of Rheumatology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead NE9 6SX, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr C Kelly;
    kelly6.family{at}breathemail.net

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The benefit of early treatment of inflammatory joint disease (IJD) with disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) to avoid progressive irreversible joint damage is well established. The time delay from onset of symptoms to starting a DMARD is determined by a number of factors, and early synovitis clinics have been developed to facilitate speedy referral and initiation of DMARD treatment. The efficiency of these clinics is dependent on appropriate referral.1 Diagnosing early IJD is not easy; even specialists have been shown to disagree when tested.2 Therefore an effective screening tool could be used to maximise identification of patients likely to have IJD and minimise unnecessary use of urgent appointments.

A simple eight point questionnaire (box 1) was devised …

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