Background: Diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) early is crucial to avoid future disability. However, potentially preventable delays in the diagnostic cascade from contact with a physician to definite diagnosis still occur and their causes are still unclear. Objective: To identify the possible causes of delays in the diagnostic process. Methods: We analyzed the data of the Swiss MS Registry. With logistic regression, we modeled the time from the first contact to the first consultation (contact-to-evaluation time, ⩽1 month/>1 month) and the evaluation-to-diagnosis time (⩽6 months/>6 months). Potential factors were health system characteristics, sociodemographic variables, first symptoms, and MS type. Results: We included 522 participants. Mostly, general practitioners (67%) were contacted first, without delaying the diagnosis. In contrast, first symptoms and MS type were the major contributors to delays: gait problems were associated with longer contact-to-evaluation times, depression as a concomitant symptom with longer evaluation-to-diagnosis times, and having primary progressive MS prolonged both phases. In addition, living in mountainous areas was associated with longer contact-to-evaluation times, whereas diagnosis after 2000 was associated with faster diagnoses. Conclusion: For a quicker diagnosis, awareness of MS as a differential diagnosis of gait disorders and the co-occurrence of depression at onset should be raised, and these symptoms should be attentively followed.

How do patients enter the healthcare system after the first onset of multiple sclerosis symptoms? The influence of setting and physician specialty on speed of diagnosis

Barin, Laura;
2020

Abstract

Background: Diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) early is crucial to avoid future disability. However, potentially preventable delays in the diagnostic cascade from contact with a physician to definite diagnosis still occur and their causes are still unclear. Objective: To identify the possible causes of delays in the diagnostic process. Methods: We analyzed the data of the Swiss MS Registry. With logistic regression, we modeled the time from the first contact to the first consultation (contact-to-evaluation time, ⩽1 month/>1 month) and the evaluation-to-diagnosis time (⩽6 months/>6 months). Potential factors were health system characteristics, sociodemographic variables, first symptoms, and MS type. Results: We included 522 participants. Mostly, general practitioners (67%) were contacted first, without delaying the diagnosis. In contrast, first symptoms and MS type were the major contributors to delays: gait problems were associated with longer contact-to-evaluation times, depression as a concomitant symptom with longer evaluation-to-diagnosis times, and having primary progressive MS prolonged both phases. In addition, living in mountainous areas was associated with longer contact-to-evaluation times, whereas diagnosis after 2000 was associated with faster diagnoses. Conclusion: For a quicker diagnosis, awareness of MS as a differential diagnosis of gait disorders and the co-occurrence of depression at onset should be raised, and these symptoms should be attentively followed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/321849
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