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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 Jul;197(1):W153-8. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.5337.

Juvenile dermatomyositis: correlation of MRI at presentation with clinical outcome.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Radiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229, USA.



The clinical course of juvenile dermatomyositis (JDMS) is unpredictable. MRI is used to determine muscle biopsy site and to monitor disease activity. It is unknown whether soft-tissue features on MRI obtained at diagnosis correlate with clinical outcome. The purpose of our study is to determine whether initial MRI findings in the pelvis and thighs in children with JDMS can predict clinical disease course.


Forty-five children (31 girls and 14 boys; median age, 6 years; range, 1-18 years) with clinically diagnosed biopsy-proven JDMS and at least 24 months of clinical follow-up were included. Clinical outcome was categorized as limited or chronic disease, according to the established Crowe clinical classification scheme. Pretreatment MRI examinations of the pelvis and thighs were evaluated for signal abnormalities of muscle and fascia and reticulated signal changes in subcutaneous fat; associations with clinical outcome were examined.


Twenty-two patients had limited disease and 23 had chronic disease. Signal intensity ranged from normal (n = 3) to floridly increased in all muscle compartments (n = 17). Muscle and fascial involvement were not associated with clinical outcome. Controlling for duration of symptoms, the adjusted odds of progressing to chronic disease were higher for patients with abnormal subcutaneous fat signal than for those with normal fat signal (odds ratio, 9.0; 95% CI, 1.5-53.5; p < 0.02).


MRI findings of muscle or fascia involvement do not predict clinical outcome in children with newly diagnosed JDMS. Abnormal subcutaneous fat signal appears to have a significant association with a more aggressive chronic disease course.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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