Authors: American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
Source: Physical Therapy . Volume 84 . Number 11 . November 2004
Read the full PDF clinical guideline here.
Background and Purpose.
The purpose of this project was to create guidelines for electrotherapy and thermotherapy interventions in the management of adult patients (>18 years of age) with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis according to the criteria of the American Rheu- matism Association (1987). Methods. Using Cochrane Collaboration methods, the Ottawa Methods Group identified and synthesized evi- dence from comparative controlled trials. The group then formed an expert panel, which developed a set of criteria for grading the strength of the evidence and the recommendation. Patient-important outcomes were determined through consensus, provided that these outcomes were assessed with a validated and reliable scale. Results. The Ottawa Panel developed 8 positive recommendations of clinical benefit. Lack of evidence meant that the panel could not gauge the efficacy of electrical stimulation. Discussion and Conclusion. The Ottawa Panel recommends the use of low-level laser therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, thermotherapy, electrical stimulation, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the management of rheumatoid arthritis. [Ottawa Panel Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Electro- therapy and Thermotherapy Interventions in the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Adults. Phys Ther. 2004;84:1016–1043.]