Quality of Life Research

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2227–2242 | Cite as

What is the current evidence of the impact on quality of life whilst waiting for management/treatment of orthopaedic/musculoskeletal complaints? A systematic scoping review

  • Joanne Morris
  • Asterie Twizeyemariya
  • Karen Grimmer



To describe quality of life (QoL) outcome measures that are reported in the literature in patients waiting for outpatient orthopaedic/musculoskeletal specialist care and how waiting impacts on QoL in these terms.


A subset of studies reporting on QoL outcome measures were extracted from literature identified in a recent scoping search of Medline, Embase, Pubmed, NHS Economic Evaluation Database (Prospero registration CRD42016047332). The systematic scoping search examined impacts on patients waiting for orthopaedic specialist care. Two independent reviewers ranked study design using the National Health and Medical Research Council aetiology evidence hierarchy, and appraised study quality using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tools. QoL measures were mapped against waiting period timepoints.


The scoping search yielded 142 articles, of which 18 reported on impact on QoL. These studies reported only on patients waiting for hip and/or knee replacement surgery. The most recent study reported on data collected in 2006/7. The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index and the SF-36 were the most commonly reported QoL measures. QoL was measured at variable timepoints in the waiting period (from a few weeks to greater than 12 months). The impact of waiting on QoL was inconsistent.


The evidence base was over 10 years old, reported only on patients with hip and knee problems, and on limited QoL outcome measures, and with inconsistent findings. A better understanding of the impact on QoL for patients waiting for specialist care could be gained by using standard timepoints in the waiting period, patients with other orthopaedic conditions, comprehensive QoL measures, as well as expectations, choices and perspectives of patients waiting for specialist care.


Orthopaedics Waiting list Quality of life Systematic review 



Data management and formatting support was available from Ashley Fulton, Heath Pillen and Holly Bowen.

Author contributions

AT and JM for literature searching, critical appraisal; AT, JM, KG for debating and organising the findings; drafting and reading subsequent drafts and editing the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne Morris
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Asterie Twizeyemariya
    • 1
    • 3
  • Karen Grimmer
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE)University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.The Canberra HospitalCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.iCAHE School of Health SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Clinical Education and Training Centre at ViTAFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Physiotherapy DepartmentStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa

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