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vol. 55
Original paper

The role of ultrasonography in monitoring long-standing rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study

Sławomir Jeka
Marta Dura
Paweł Żuchowski
Beata Zwierko
Rafał Wojciechowski

Reumatologia 2017; 55, 4: 177-182
Online publish date: 2017/08/31
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Objective: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that poses many diagnostic problems. As a result, it is often diagnosed too late, which makes effective treatment more difficult. The course of the disease is chronic, and it causes irreversible changes in the musculoskeletal system, as well as bone destruction, and this in turn impairs the proper monitoring of the treatment. Therefore, in order to assess the treatment’s efficacy, as well as a clinical examination of the patient and laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging is being used more frequently in routine practice. The aim of this paper is to assess the usefulness of power Doppler ultrasonography in the assessment of MCP joints in patients with chronic RA (LSRA), in comparison with DAS28, X-ray, and MRI.

Material and methods: The study involved 26 patients with LSRA, treated with biologics. It lasted for a year. At the moment of enrolment, the condition had lasted for a minimum of 5 years, and DAS28 was > 5.1. The patients had visits every three months. During every visit, a PDUS test was performed and the DAS28 was determined. In the first and last month of the study the patients underwent X-ray and MRI tests.

Results: At the end of the study, the DAS28 of 26 (100%) patients was lower or equal to 3.2. Based on PDUS and MRI tests, no synovitis was found in 21 (81%) and 18 (69%) patients, respectively. According to the MRI results, radiological changes progressed in 5 (19%) of them. All patients who showed progress of radiological changes also had visible synovitis during their PDUS test.

Conclusions: PDUS in patients with LSRA can be helpful in selecting patients, who are likely to develop a progression of radiological changes.

ultrasonography, rheumatoid arthritis, MRI

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