The GALS musculoskeletal exam can be used by family physicians and nurse practitioners to screen for signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Arthritis Care & Research , 05/29/2012
Beattie KA et al. – Following a very short training period, family physicians and nurse practitioners appear to be able to employ the GALS exam as a screening tool for RA signs and symptoms – particularly for identifying an individual with positive results who will benefit from further investigation or rheumatology referral.
Participating healthcare professionals, including two rheumatologists, three family physicians and three nurse practitioners, were trained to perform the GALS exam by viewing an instructional DVD and attending a training workshop.
One week after training, healthcare professionals performed the GALS exam on 20 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and 21 individuals without rheumatoid arthritis.
All participants were recruited through two rheumatology practices.
Each participant was assessed by four healthcare professionals.
Healthcare professionals were asked to record whether observed signs and symptoms were potentially consistent with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Healthcare professionals understood the study's objective to be their agreement on GALS findings amongst one another and were unaware that half the participants had rheumatoid arthritis.
Sensitivity and specificity were calculated to determine the ability of the GALS examination to screen for rheumatoid arthritis using the rheumatologist as the standard for comparison.
For the 3 family physicians, sensitivity values varied from 60–100% and specificity values varied from 70–82%.
For the 3 nurse practitioners, sensitivity values varied from 60–90% and specificity values varied from 73–100%.
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