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Title: Outcome of low back pain patients referred to orthopeadic outpatient clinic
Authors: Cuschieri, Sarah
Grech, Stephan
Borg, Joe
Keywords: Backache -- Treatment
Orthopedics -- Ambulatory Care -- Malta -- Evaluation
Primary health care -- Malta
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Malta Medical Journal
Citation: Malta Medical Journal. 2014, Vol.26(2), p. 52-57
Abstract: Background: Musculoskeletal complaints are the commonest encounters in primary care. Low back pain management is commonly initiated by the family practitioner. Guidelines are limited as to when patients should be referred for specialist treatment by the orthopaedic department. Objectives: Evaluate the justification of low back pain referrals to Orthopedic outpatients (OOP), Mater Dei Hospital, Malta and assess whether these merited specialist consultation. Method: Anonymous data was collected over a 3- month period, where 100 low back pain new case referrals were evaluated during OOP. Data collection was based on routine questions normally brought forward during a consultation and a management plan which was documented in a spreadsheet. Data was analyzed using the same software. Results: Out of the total number of patients reviewed, 57 had been referred for the first time to OOP. Out of these, only 10 required an MRI with a scheduled follow up appointment. The remainder were referred for physiotherapy or pain clinic and discharged to follow-up in the community by the primary care physician. Out of 43 patients who had had previous OOP appointments complaining of lower back pain, 5 patients required an MRI and follow up appointment, remainder were discharged with physiotherapy or pain clinic appointments. Conclusion: The majority of patients seen at OOP could have been managed in primary care. It reflects the importance of developing local management guidelines for low back pain, which would assist general practitioners. It is indicative that referral to OOP should only be triggered when all treatment options available in the primary care are exhausted. This would lead to patients achieving targeted treatment timely within the community, resulting in shorter waiting time for outpatient visits.
Appears in Collections:MMJ, Volume 26, Issue 2
MMJ, Volume 26, Issue 2
Scholarly Works - FacM&SAna
Scholarly Works - FacM&SSur

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