The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 1, 52 - 56

Five Questions to Identify Patients With Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Springer, Bernhard et al.


To treat the increasing number of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, high-volume institutions rely on central referral services as first contact point. Depending on the grading of arthritis, patients will be referred to a nonoperative or operative care provider. The present study reports on a simple 5-step questionnaire to identify patients with OA (Kellgren/Lawrence [KL] grade ≥2) of the knee to improve efficiency of referrals.


We included 998 patients who contacted the physician referral service at the author’s institution complaining of knee pain and divided them into 2 groups. The study group included patients with an appointment and consisted of 646 patients (345 women [53.4%] and 301 men [46.6%]). X-rays of the knee were graded according to the KL classification system. The control group of patients who did not make an appointment consisted of 352 patients (187 women [53.1%] and 165 men [46.9%]). These patients were contacted to evaluate whether they had been diagnosed with OA of the knee since their initial call, to assure that the study group was not exposed to a selection bias.


Logistic regression revealed 5 questions as significant predictors for OA of the knee (KL grade ≥2). When combining both groups, an 86.9% sensitivity, a 73.3% specificity, and an 84.3% overall accuracy were reached, when patients answered 3 or more questions positively.


The present study revealed a simple 5-step questionnaire to identify patients with OA of the knee. Implementation of the questionnaire has the potential to improve the accuracy of referral processes and streamline organization before the first appointment.

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