Spondyloarthritis raises considerable diagnostic challenges. The mean time from symptom onset to the definitive diagnosis was 8 years in classical studies. This diagnostic delay has a deleterious impact not only for the patient, but also potentially on the course of the disease and therefore on its social and economic costs. In addition, delays in diagnosis translate into delays in management. The main reason for diagnostic delays is that early classification criteria sets include marked radiographic changes, which require time to develop. New criteria are now available that should allow earlier patient classification and that recognize the existence of non-radiographic forms of spondyloarthritis. Results from prospective cohort studies of early spondyloarthritis, on the one hand, and continuing medical education efforts aimed at informing all healthcare professionals of changes in concepts, on the other, should prove effective in decreasing the time to diagnosis, thereby optimizing patient management.
Keywords: Diagnostic delay; Spondyloarthritis; Treatment.
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