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Balancing on the edge: implications of a UK national audit of the use of BSR-BHPR guidelines for the diagnosis and management of polymyalgia rheumatica
  1. Parthajit Das1,
  2. Ash Samanta1 and
  3. Bhaskar Dasgupta2,3
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Southend University Hospital, Southend, UK
  3. 3Anglia Ruskin, Essex, UK
  1. Correspondence to Parthajit Das; parthajit.das21{at}


Introduction The British Society for Rheumatology and British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BSR-BHPR) guidelines for management of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) were published in 2010, aiming to provide guidance for diagnosis, management and disease monitoring. A national study was conducted across multiple rheumatology units throughout the UK in order to study the level of adoption of guidelines in clinical practice.

Methods This study was a retrospective analysis of patient records with a diagnosis of PMR from multiple centres across the UK. The primary objective was to explore the national compliance of PMR management according to BSR guidelines.

Results We included 81 responses across 10 rheumatology units in the UK. The guideline core inclusion criteria were followed in more than 90% in making the diagnosis of PMR, but limited concordance was observed with respect to excluding PMR-mimics, the initial recommended glucocorticoid dosage (74%), steroid taper (41%), treatment of relapse (76%), bone protection (84%) and patient follow-up (43%).

Conclusions We observed a wide variation in clinical practice and limited adherence to BSR-BHPR guidelines in the UK. This study highlights the need for robust multilayered and multifaceted implementation strategies involving the providers and the consumers for apposite dissemination of guideline-based practice and consistency of care. We believe that the findings of this study have significant relevance for formulation and dissemination of PMR guidelines in the future.

Statistics from

  • Received March 9, 2015.
  • Revision received May 14, 2015.
  • Accepted June 10, 2015.
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