Objectives: This work studied if and how current clinical practice agrees with European Viscosupplementation Consensus Group (EUROVISCO) recommendations and how this agreement might be different according to physician's specialization. In addition, this work aimed to identify key decision factors that practitioners consider in their decision to retreat or not a patient with hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation.
Methods: Practitioners have been invited by e-mail to participate in an online exercise on viscosupplementation retreatment. They received a fictional patient case at random among a set of predefined fictional cases. The platform asked the practitioner if he/she would retreat the patient with viscosupplementation or not. To take a decision, the practitioner could select questions among a list of predefined questions. Among them, some were related to criteria used in the EUROVISCO decision tree and others served as confounding factors.
Results: A total of 506 practitioners participated to the exercise, of which 399 gave their decision about the case assigned to them by the platform. The observed agreement between practitioner decisions and EUROVISCO recommendations was 58.89 ± 4.95% (95% confidence interval [CI]). Overall, the decision to retreat was taken in 47.87% of the cases, while the EUROVISCO guidelines follow-up would have led to 55.89% retreatment for the same cases (P = 0.03).
Conclusions: In current practice, physicians tended to reinject their patients less than recommended, although EUROVISCO guidelines for viscosupplementation retreatment consider decision criteria that clearly correspond to those of practitioners in real life. These include the patients' willingness to be treated or the patients' perception of the effectiveness of the treatment.
Keywords: guidelines; hyaluronic acid; knee; osteoarthritis; viscosupplementation.