Ultrasound in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Ultrasound in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chiara Rizzo, Fulvia Ceccarelli, Angelica Gattamelata, Caterina Vavala, Guido Valesini, Annamaria Iagnocco


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by synovial inflammation that can lead to structural damage of cartilage, bone and tendons. Assessing the inflammatory activity and the severity is essential in RA to help rheumatologists in adopting proper therapeutic strategies and in evaluating disease outcome and response to treatment. In the last years musculoskeletal (MS) ultrasonography (US) underwent tremendous technological development of equipment with increased sensitivity in detecting a wide set of joint and soft tissues abnormalities. In RA MSUS with the use of Doppler modalities is a useful imaging tool to depict inflammatory abnormalities (i.e. synovitis, tenosynovitis and bursitis) and structural changes (i.e. bone erosions, cartilage damage and tendon lesions). In addition, MSUS has been demonstrated to be able to monitor the response to different therapies in RA to guide local diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as biopsy, fluid aspirations and injections. Future applications based on the development of new tools may improve the role of MSUS in RA.