Physicians Disagree on RA Treatment

Published Online: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

    A report published recently in the Journal of Rheumatology showed that rheumatologists and hand surgeons are on opposite sides of the fence as to when drugs or surgery is needed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In a survey of 500 randomly selected rheumatologists and 500 hand surgeons in the United States, 70% of the rheumatologists thought that surgeons did not have enough knowledge about medical therapies for RA, whereas a similar percentage of surgeons thought that rheumatologists did not know enough about available surgical treatments.

    Oftentimes, the 2 groups of physicians will disagree about when hand surgery should be contemplated for RA, and about which procedures are appropriate. Whereas disagreement could fuel discussion between the 2 parties, many times that is not the case. In fact, the survey revealed that nearly 40% of physicians from both groups did not communicate their concern to the other specialist.

    ?Since this a debilitating, chronic condition that affects so many, it?s very concerning that we don?t have a consensus or communication among providers,? said Amy Alderman, MD, lead author of the study.

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