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Is dry heat treatment (fluidotherapy) effective in improving hand function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis? A randomized controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Erdinc Gunduz N, Erdem D, Kizil R, Solmaz D, Onen F, Ellidokuz H, Gulbahar S
Clinical Rehabilitation 2019 Mar;33(3):485-493
clinical trial
8/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of dry heat treatment (fluidotherapy) in improving hand function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. DESIGN: Prospective randomized controlled trial. Setting: Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Rheumatology in a university hospital. SUBJECTS: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Interventions: All patients were randomly divided into two groups. Group 1 underwent dry heat treatment (fluidotherapy) and group 2 was a control group. Patients in both groups participated in a joint protection and exercise program. Main measures: Primary outcome measures were Health Assessment Questionnaire and Duruoz Hand Index. Secondary outcome measures were pain and stiffness, Grip Ability Test, Disease Activity Score-28, and grip strength. These assessments were performed at the hospital at baseline, week 3, and week 12. RESULTS: A total of 93 participants were allocated to group 1 (n = 47) and group 2 (n = 46). The mean age of these groups was 54.19 +/- 11.15 years and 53.00 +/- 10.15 years, respectively (p = 0.592). At baseline, there were no significant differences between the groups in any parameter except significantly poorer Health Assessment Questionnaire score in group 1 (p = 0.007). At week 3, there were no significant differences between the groups in any of the parameters (p > 0.005). At week 12, Duruoz Hand Index scores were significantly better in group 2 (p = 0.039). CONCLUSION: Dry heat treatment (fluidotherapy) was not effective in improving hand function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, no positive effect on any other clinical parameters was observed.

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