Connective tissue disorders

Red flags

Consider urgent referral for patients with the following

  • Chest pain
    • Suspected myocarditis
  • Neurological symptoms

Information That May Lead To More Urgent Categorisation

  • Renal involvement with deteriorating renal function
  • Vasculitis
  • Cardiac involvement
  • Weight loss with dermatomyositis/polymyositis
  • Significant proximal myopathy

Conditions in this category commonly referred to Immunology are:

  • SLE
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Polymyositis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis

Patients with diagnosed rheumatoid disease should be referred to Rheumatology

Other important information for referring practitioners

Lifestyle changes

  • Advise on healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise.
  • Advise on and assist smoking cessation

Medical Management

  • Monitor renal function in SLE, scleroderma
  • If polymyositis/dermatomyositis is suspected screen for occult malignancy
  • Perform medication review if on multiple medications as some drugs can be implicated in connective tissue diseases

Referral requirements

A referral may be rejected without the following information.

  • Presence of any Red Flags
  • Reason for referral
  • Suspected diagnosis
  • Timeline of symptoms
    • Include severity and if lifestyle limiting
    • List organ systems affected and severity if multisystemic ( SLE, scleroderma etc)
  • If seen by another immunologist please include the last 2-3 letters
  • Family history if present
  • Co-existing medical conditions
  • Treatments trialled and reasons for failure
  • Current medication list and known allergies

Additional referral information (useful for processing the referral)

  • Tissue autoantibodies, especially if these help to confirm the diagnosis
  • CPK

Out of catchment

Metro North Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service. If your patient lives outside the Metro North Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can’t order, or the patient can’t afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary
  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use
  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)

Send referral

Hotline: 1300 364 938

Fax: 1300 364 952

Electronic: eReferral system

Mail: Metro North Central Patient Intake
Aspley Community Centre
776  Zillmere Road

Health pathways

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