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1.  Costs of shoulder pain in primary care consulters: a prospective cohort study in The Netherlands 
Background
Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information on the costs associated with health care use and loss of productivity in patients with shoulder pain is very scarce. The objective of this study was to determine shoulder pain related costs during the 6 months after first consultation in general practice
Methods
A prospective cohort study consisting of 587 patients with a new episode of shoulder pain was conducted with a follow-up period of 6 months. Data on costs were collected by means of a cost diary during 6 months.
Results
84% of the patients completed all cost diaries. The mean consumption of direct health care and non-health related care was low. During 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain, the mean total costs a patient generated were €689. Almost 50% of this total concerned indirect costs, caused by sick leave from paid work. A small proportion (12%) of the population generated 74% of the total costs.
Conclusion
The total costs in the 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain in primary care, mostly generated by a small part of the population, are not alarmingly high.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-83
PMCID: PMC1635047  PMID: 17078883
2.  Reproducibility of cervical range of motion in patients with neck pain 
Background
Reproducibility measurements of the range of motion are an important prerequisite for the interpretation of study results. The aim of the study is to assess the intra-rater and inter-rater reproducibility of the measurement of active Range of Motion (ROM) in patients with neck pain using the Cybex Electronic Digital Inclinometer-320 (EDI-320).
Methods
In an outpatient clinic in a primary care setting 32 patients with at least 2 weeks of pain and/or stiffness in the neck were randomly assessed, in a test- retest design with blinded raters using a standardized measurement protocol. Cervical flexion-extension, lateral flexion and rotation were assessed.
Results
Reliability expressed by the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) was 0.93 (lateral flexion) or higher for intra-rater reliability and 0.89 (lateral flexion) or higher for inter-rater reliability. The 95% limits of agreement for intra-rater agreement, expressing the range of the differences between two ratings were -2.5 ± 11.1° for flexion-extension, -0.1 ± 10.4° for lateral flexion and -5.9 ± 13.5° for rotation. For inter-rater agreement the limits of agreement were 3.3 ± 17.0° for flexion-extension, 0.5 ± 17.0° for lateral flexion and -1.3 ± 24.6° for rotation.
Conclusion
In general, the intra-rater reproducibility and the inter-rater reproducibility were good. We recommend to compare the reproducibility and clinical applicability of the EDI-320 inclinometer with other cervical ROM measures in symptomatic patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-59
PMCID: PMC1343553  PMID: 16351719
3.  A prediction rule for shoulder pain related sick leave: a prospective cohort study 
Background
Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information about predictors of shoulder pain related sick leave in workers is scarce and inconsistent. The objective was to develop a clinical prediction rule for calculating the risk of shoulder pain related sick leave for individual workers, during the 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
Methods
A prospective cohort study with 6 months follow-up was conducted among 350 workers with a new episode of shoulder pain. Potential predictors included the results of a physical examination, sociodemographic variables, disease characteristics (duration of symptoms, sick leave in the 2 months prior to consultation, pain intensity, disability, comorbidity), physical activity, physical work load, psychological factors, and the psychosocial work environment. The main outcome measure was sick leave during 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
Results
Response rate to the follow-up questionnaire at 6 months was 85%. During the 6 months after first consultation 30% (89/298) of the workers reported sick leave. 16% (47) reported 10 days sick leave or more. Sick leave during this period was predicted in a multivariable model by a longer duration of sick leave prior to consultation, more shoulder pain, a perceived cause of strain or overuse during regular activities, and co-existing psychological complaints. The discriminative ability of the prediction model was satisfactory with an area under the curve of 0.70 (95% CI 0.64–0.76).
Conclusion
Although 30% of all workers with shoulder pain reported sick leave during follow-up, the duration of sick leave was limited to a few days in most workers. We developed a prediction rule and a score chart that can be used by general practitioners and occupational health care providers to calculate the absolute risk of sick leave in individual workers with shoulder pain, which may help to identify workers who need additional attention. The performance and applicability of our model needs to be tested in other working populations with shoulder pain to enable valid and reliable use of the score chart in everyday practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-97
PMCID: PMC1762015  PMID: 17150087
4.  Surgery is more cost-effective than splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome in the Netherlands: results of an economic evaluation alongside a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common disorder, often treated with surgery or wrist splinting. The objective of this economic evaluation alongside a randomized trial was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of splinting and surgery for patients with CTS.
Methods
Patients at 13 neurological outpatient clinics with clinically and electrophysiologically confirmed idiopathic CTS were randomly allocated to splinting (n = 89) or surgery (n = 87). Clinical outcome measures included number of nights waking up due to symptoms, general improvement, severity of the main complaint, paraesthesia at night and during the day, and utility. The economic evaluation was performed from a societal perspective and involved all relevant costs.
Results
There were no differences in costs. The mean total costs per patient were in the surgery group EURO 2,126 compared to EURO 2,111 in the splint group. After 12 months, the success rate in the surgery group (92%) was significantly higher than in the splint group (72%). The acceptability curve showed that at a relatively low ceiling ratio of EURO 2,500 per patient there is a 90% probability that surgery is cost-effective.
Conclusion
In the Netherlands, surgery is more cost-effective compared with splinting, and recommended as the preferred method of treatment for patients with CTS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-86
PMCID: PMC1660539  PMID: 17109748
5.  Inter-observer reproducibility of measurements of range of motion in patients with shoulder pain using a digital inclinometer 
Background
Reproducible measurements of the range of motion are an important prerequisite for the interpretation of study results. The digital inclinometer is considered to be a useful instrument because it is inexpensive and easy to use. No previous study assessed inter-observer reproducibility of range of motion measurements with a digital inclinometer by physical therapists in a large sample of patients.
Methods
Two physical therapists independently measured the passive range of motion of the glenohumeral abduction and the external rotation in 155 patients with shoulder pain. Agreement was quantified by calculation of the mean differences between the observers and the standard deviation (SD) of this difference and the limits of agreement, defined as the mean difference ± 1.96*SD of this difference. Reliability was quantified by means of the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).
Results
The limits of agreement were 0.8 ± 19.6 for glenohumeral abduction and -4.6 ± 18.8 for external rotation (affected side) and quite similar for the contralateral side and the differences between sides. The percentage agreement within 10° for these measurements were 72% and 70% respectively. The ICC ranged from 0.28 to 0.90 (0.83 and 0.90 for the affected side).
Conclusions
The inter-observer agreement was found to be poor. If individual patients are assessed by two different observers, differences in range of motion of less than 20–25 degrees can not be distuinguished from measurement error. In contrast, acceptable reliability was found for the inclinometric measurements of the affected side and the differences between the sides, indicating that the inclimeter can be used in studies in which groups are compared.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-18
PMCID: PMC434511  PMID: 15196309
6.  Determinants of the clinical course of musculoskeletal complaints in general practice: design of a cohort study 
Background
Musculoskeletal complaints are frequent and have large consequences for public health. Information about the prognosis after presentation in general practice is far from complete. Knowledge about determinants of the clinical course of musculoskeletal complaints is essential for management decisions and to inform patients about their prognosis. The purpose of this study is to provide information about the prognosis of musculoskeletal complaints other than low back pain by studying the course of these complaints in general practice and to identify determinants of this course.
Methods
Patients of 18 years and older, who present in general practice with a new episode of a musculoskeletal complaint of the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, arm, hip, knee, ankle or foot, are recruited by their general practitioner (GP). Participants will receive complaint-specific questionnaires by mail at baseline and after 3, 6, 12 and 18 months. The following putative determinants of the course of the complaints will be investigated: sociodemographic characteristics, characteristics of the complaint, psychosocial job characteristics, physical workload, physical activity during leisure time, pain coping, mood, kinesiophobia, social support, optimism. The primary outcomes are perceived recovery, pain, functional status, sick leave and overall quality of life.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-4-3
PMCID: PMC151672  PMID: 12600275

Results 1-6 (6)