BACKGROUND:The Multi-attribute Arthritis Prioritisation Tool (MAPT) score is used as a tool to prioritize referrals to specialist clinics and care given to patients with hip and knee problems. Our pilot study aimed to determine the extent of any relationship between the MAPT scores and the clinician's assessment of severity of disease in terms of surgical waiting list (SWL) categories and radiological assessment. METHODS:This is a retrospective study of patients with symptomatic hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) that were referred via the orthopaedic waiting list project between January and July 2009 to the Bendigo Health's orthopaedic outpatients clinic and were waitlisted for a total hip replacement (THR)/total knee replacement (TKR). The MAPT score was calculated and the Surgical waitlist Category was obtained from the surgical booking office. The radiographs of all these patients were reviewed and graded independently according to the Kellgren and Lawrence radiographic grading for severity of arthritis. The relationships between MAPT score, SWL category and the Kellgren and Lawrence radiographic grades were examined using graphical methods and Kendall's tau correlation coefficients. RESULTS:There were 62 patients in the study. The Kendall-tau sample correlation coefficient between MAPT score and the radiographic grade is τ(b) = -0.091 (P = 0.330) and between MAPT score and SWL category is τ(b) = 0.007 (P = 0.951). CONCLUSIONS:The sample data suggests that there is no significant relationship between the MAPT score and radiographic severity of OA, or between MAPT score and surgical waitlist category of patients with OA waitlisted for a THR/TKR.