No abatement of steroid injections for tennis elbow in Australian General Practice: A 15-year observational study with random general practitioner sampling
AuthorVicenzino, B; Britt, H; Pollack, AJ; Hall, M; Bennell, KL; Hunter, DJ
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsVicenzino, B., Britt, H., Pollack, A. J., Hall, M., Bennell, K. L. & Hunter, D. J. (2017). No abatement of steroid injections for tennis elbow in Australian General Practice: A 15-year observational study with random general practitioner sampling. PLOS ONE, 12 (7), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181631.
Access StatusOpen Access
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate general practitioner (GP) management of tennis elbow (TE) in Australia. METHODS: Data about the management of TE by GPs from 2000 to 2015 were extracted from the Bettering the Evaluation of Care of Health program database. Patient and GP characteristics and encounter management data were classified by the International Classification of Primary Care, version 2, and reported using descriptive statistics with point estimates and 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: TE was managed by GPs 242,000 times per year on average. Patients were mainly female (52.3%), aged between 35 and 64 years (mean: 49.3 yrs), had higher relative risks of concomitant disorders (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome and other tendonitis) and their TE was 10 times more likely to be work related than problems managed for patients who did not have TE. Use of diagnostic tests was low, implying a clinical examination based diagnosis of TE. Management was by procedural treatments (36 per 100 TE problems), advice, education or counselling (25 per 100), and referral to other health care providers (14 per 100, mainly to physiotherapy). The rate of local injection did not change over the 15 years and was performed at similar rates as physiotherapy referral. CONCLUSION: The high risk of comorbidities and work relatedness and no abatement in the reasonably high rate of local injections (which is contrary to the evidence from clinical trials) provides support for the development and dissemination of TE clinical guidelines for GPs.
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