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EULAR evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis of hand osteoarthritis: report of a task force of ESCISIT
  1. W Zhang1,
  2. M Doherty1,
  3. B F Leeb2,
  4. L Alekseeva3,
  5. N K Arden4,
  6. J W Bijlsma5,
  7. F Dincer6,
  8. K Dziedzic7,
  9. H J Hauselmann8,
  10. P Kaklamanis9,
  11. M Kloppenburg10,
  12. L S Lohmander11,
  13. E Maheu12,
  14. E Martin-Mola13,
  15. K Pavelka14,
  16. L Punzi15,
  17. S Reiter16,
  18. J Smolen17,
  19. G Verbruggen18,
  20. I Watt19,
  21. I Zimmermann-Gorska20
  1. 1 Academic Rheumatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2 2nd Department of Medicine, Lower Austrian Centre for Rheumatology, Stockerau, Austria
  3. 3 State Institute of Rheumatology, Russian Academic Medical School, Moscow, Russian Federation
  4. 4 MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  5. 5 Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Department, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  6. 6 Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ankara, Turkey
  7. 7 Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Keele University, Keele, UK
  8. 8 Clinic Im Park Hirslanden Group, Centre for Rheumatology and Bone Disease, Zurich, Switzerland
  9. 9 (retired), Athens, Greece
  10. 10 Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  11. 11 Department of Orthopaedics, Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  12. 12 Rheumatology Department, Hospital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France
  13. 13 Servicio de Reumatologia, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain
  14. 14 Institute of Rheumatology, Na Slupi 4, Prague, Czech Republic
  15. 15 Rheumatology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
  16. 16 Rheumatology Unit, Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, Bonn, Germany
  17. 17 2nd Department of Medicine, Krankenhauz Lainz, Vienna, Austria
  18. 18 Department of Rheumatology, Ghent University Hospital, Gent, Belgium
  19. 19 Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  20. 20 Department of Rheumatology, Rehabilitation and Internal Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
  1. Dr W Zhang, Academic Rheumatology, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; weiya.zhang{at}


Objectives: To develop evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis of hand osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: The multidisciplinary guideline development group, representing 15 European countries, generated 10 key propositions regarding diagnosis using a Delphi consensus approach. For each recommendation, research evidence was searched for systematically. Whenever possible, the sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratio (LR) were calculated; relative risk and odds ratios were estimated for risk factors for hand OA. Quality of evidence was categorised using the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) hierarchy, and strength of recommendation was assessed by the EULAR visual analogue scale.

Results: Diagnostic topics included clinical manifestations, radiographic features, subgroups, differential diagnosis, laboratory tests, risk factors and comorbidities. The sensitivity, specificity and LR varied between tests depending upon the cut-off level, gold standard and controls. Overall, no single test could be used to define hand OA on its own (LR <10) but a composite of the tests greatly increased the chance of the diagnosis. The probability of a subject having hand OA was 20% when Heberden nodes alone were present, but this increased to 88% when in addition the subject was over 40 years old, had a family history of nodes and had joint space narrowing in any finger joint.

Conclusion: Ten key recommendations for diagnosis of hand OA were developed using research evidence and expert consensus. Diagnosis of hand OA should be based on assessment of a composite of features.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Funding: Financial support was received from the European League Against Rheumatism.

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