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Acad Radiol. 2012 Jun;19(6):693-700. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.02.010. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

The role of ultrasonography in early detection and monitoring of shoulder erosions, and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients; comparison with MRI examination.

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Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, EL-Minya University, ElMinya, Minia 61111, Egypt.



To determine the accuracy of ultrasound in early detection of bone erosions and monitoring disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a gold standard technique.


This prospective study was carried out on 50 patients with known RA and 15 healthy controls. Conventional radiography was standardized and performed in two planes. Ultrasound (US) and MRI was performed to evaluate the presence of synovitis, tenosynovitis, and bursitis as well as erosions on ultrasound and MRI. The results in the study group were compared with those obtained in a control group.


In the study group, the most frequent US finding of shoulder joint was Tenosynovitis of the long head of the biceps tendon. Tenosynovitis was observed in the long head of biceps tendon in 20 joints (40%). Erosions of the humeroscapular joint were detected by conventional radiography in 15 (30%), by US in 41 (82%), and by MRI in 46 (92%) of the shoulders examined, no statistically significant difference is noted between US and MRI in overall detection of erosion (P = .333).


US is a helpful imaging method and in comparison with MRI in assessing the shoulder joint and, preferably with MRI, are recommended as additional techniques in the initial diagnostic evaluation when radiography yields negative results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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