Identifying patients with axial spondyloarthritis: on a mission to achieve timely recognition

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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On average, there is a nine-year delay in the diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis (formerly known as Bechterew’s disease). This dissertation shows that an MRI scan of the sacroiliac joints (or sacral joints) allows an earlier diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis to be made in a reliable way. Although general practitioners play an important role in identifying potential spondyloarthritis patients and referring them to a rheumatologist, this dissertation shows that they only have a limited ability to recognise physical symptoms suggestive of axial spondyloarthritis. Teaching general practitioners about this disease proved to be an effective way to enhance the identification of potential spondyloarthritis patients as well as increase referrals of these patients to a rheumatologist.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Boonen, Annelies, Supervisor
  • Landewe, Robert, Supervisor
  • van Tubergen, Astrid, Co-Supervisor
Award date20 Nov 2015
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789461594877
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • spondyloarthritis
  • diagnosis
  • general practitioner

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