Thomas, MJ, Butler-Walley, S, Rathod-Mistry, T, Mayson, Z, Parry, EL, Pope, C, Neogi, T and Peat, G (2018) Acute flares of knee osteoarthritis in primary care: a feasibility and pilot case-crossover study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 4. 167 - ?. ISSN 2055-5784

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Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of persistent pain and disability. Traditionally viewed as a slowly progressive disease, the impact of symptom variability on prognosis remains unclear. 'Acute-on-chronic' episodes are a well-recognised feature of many long-term conditions but only recently formally described in OA. This study aimed to develop a web-based data collection platform and establish key methodological design parameters, to develop a larger community-based study investigating acute flares of knee OA in England. Methods: The study is a 9-week feasibility and pilot web-based observational case-crossover study. Adults aged ≥ 40 years registered with two general practices who had consulted their general practitioner for knee pain/OA in the last 2 years were recruited. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire and scheduled (control-period) questionnaires at follow-up weeks 1, 5, and 9. Participants were invited to self-declare via the website on any occasion they experienced a knee pain flare-up lasting ≥ 24 h. Upon notification, an event-driven (case-period) questionnaire comparable to the scheduled questionnaires was completed and daily measurements on the course and consequences were taken until resolution. A sub-study of 10 participants logged daily pain measurements. The analysis estimated key parameters including recruitment (selective non-participation, eligibility, consent), retention, and flare-up capture processes. Questionnaire completeness and website usability were evaluated. Results: Of 442 patients invited, 14 completed baseline questionnaires. Eligibility rate was 26.9% (95% CI 19.3, 36.2), consent rate 53.6% (35.8, 70.5), and overall recruitment rate 3.2% (1.9, 5.2). Compared to those mailed, baseline responders were more likely to be male and ≥ 65 years, as were those reporting ≥ 1 flare-up. Eleven scheduled questionnaires were completed (mean response 35%). Although seven participants (50%) self-declared 11 flare-ups, only one event-driven questionnaire was completed and three participants contributed daily flare measurement for four flares. Missing data was ≤ 3.7% across completed baseline, scheduled, and event-driven questionnaires. Aspects of website usability require minor refinement. Conclusions: Recruitment was not feasible with the current strategy. An evaluation of processes has suggested several substantial changes in design that may enhance recruitment, retention, and data quality in a future full-scale study.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: knee; osteoarthritis; flare; web-based; case-crossover
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 08:43
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 08:43

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