Early arthritis clinic: a USA perspective

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2003 Sep-Oct;21(5 Suppl 31):S75-8.


An early arthritis clinic (EAC) was established to identify early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients for clinical trials and to create a facile method of early patient referral from the practitioner to the rheumatologist. With minimal advertising and promotion, patients with less than 12 months of symptoms were easily referred if the primary care physician suspected a rheumatic condition. Of those patients who were appropriately referred one-third had synovitis, 20% had diagnostic cutaneous findings, 20% were diagnosed with lupus (or lupus-like disease), 12.5% had RA, and 10% were diagnosed with a spondyloarthropathy. An EAC was easily established, implemented and staffed and resulted in the prompt diagnosis and early treatment of many patients who may have otherwise waited months for appropriate rheumatologic diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Antirheumatic Agents