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Haemophilia. 2011 Jan;17(1):112-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2516.2010.02380.x. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Ultrasound detects joint damage and bleeding in haemophilic arthropathy: a proposal of a score.

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Department of Bio Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


Haemarthrosis triggers haemophilic arthropathy (HA) because bleeding starts synovitis immediately, damages cartilage and leads to loss of function and disability. The aim of our study was to investigate the capacity of ultrasonography (US) in detecting bleeding and joint damage in HA. The joints of 62 patients (pts) with haemophilia A or haemophilia B were consecutively evaluated and scored (score ranging from 0 to 21) for effusion (E), bone remodelling (BR), cartilage damage (CD), synovial hypertrophy (SH), haemosiderin (H), osteophytes (O), haemarthrosis (Hae), erosion (Er) and fibrotic septa (FS) with US. X-rays [Pettersson Score (PXS)] were performed in 61 patients and clinical evaluation [World Federation Haemophiliac orthopaedic score (WFHO)] was performed in all patients. A total of 20 healthy subjects and 20 patients affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) were used as controls. Power Doppler US (PDUS) was performed in all patients on the knee, ankle and elbow joints. A total of 83 joints were studied (50 knees; 12 elbows and 21 ankles). US showed effusion in 57 joint, bone remodelling in 62, cartilage damage in 64, synovial hypertrophy in 45, haemosiderin in 39, osteophytes in 30, haemarthrosis in 24, erosion in 5 and fibrotic septa in 3. The X-rays score showed remodelling in 47 joints, narrowing joint space in 44, displacement/angulation in 39, osteoporosis in 42, subchondral irregularity in 44, subchondral cyst formation in 37, osteophytes in 36 and erosions in 25. The US score in healthy subjects was always ≤ 5 (range 0 to 4). In haemophiliacs, 34 of 83 joints showed US score ≤ 5, and 49 US score > 5. Joints with US score ≤ 5 had a low PXS (SRCC = 0.375, P < 0.01) and joints with US score > 5 showed a high PXS (SRCC = 0.440, P < 0.01). A significant correlation between US score and PXS for bone remodelling [Spearman's rho Correlation Coefficient (SRCC) = 0.429, P < 0.01] and for osteophytes (SRCC = 0.308, P < 0.05) was found. The correlation between the US score and number of bleedings in 83 joints was very significant (SRCC = 0.375, P < 0.01). A total of 24 bleeding joints were identified and verified with aspiration of haematic fluid. US may detect bone and cartilage alterations and synovitis. Indeed, PDUS identified bleeding also in asymptomatic joints and was able to show different entity of haemarthrosis. US may be a feasible and reliable tool to evaluate joint modifications in HA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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