Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2013 May-Jun;31(3):422-7. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Achilles enthesis ultrasound: the importance of the bursa in spondyloarthritis.

Author information

  • 1Rheumatology Department, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.



This paper aims to assess the prevalence and relevance of the bursa-synovial lesion in spondyloarthritis (SpA).


A transversal blind and controlled two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound (US) study of Achilles enthesis bursa in early SpA was undertaken. Clinical outcome measures were collected.


Bilateral Achilles enthesis of 66 early SpA patients (34 women) and 46 control patients (23 asymptomatic healthy subjects and 23 rheumatoid arthritis [RA] patients) were analysed. Mean BASDAI, BASFI and BASRI-spine were 4.55±2.08, 2.16±1.95 and 0.65±0.77, respectively. Mean erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was 10.93±12.35 mm/h and C-reactive protein (CRP) was 6.46±10.09 mg/l. The κ-values for intra-reader agreement for 2D and 3D images and bursa measurement were 0.82 and 0.98, respectively. Bursas were visualised in 89/132 SpA enthesis (67.4%) vs. 27/46 enthesis (58.7%) of healthy controls (p<0.01), and 10/46 enthesis (21.7%) of RA controls (p<0.01). When the thicknesses of the bursas were analysed, the SpA group had a mean of 1.52±1.47 mm versus 0.76±0.76 mm in the healthy control group (p<0.0001), and 0.38±0.62 mm in the RA control group (p<0.0001). A positive likelihood ratio of 4.6 with a cut-off point of bursa >2 was found. No Doppler signal was detected in controls, but 6.6% of SpA Achilles enthesis had Doppler bursitis. Heel pain was more frequent when bursa was present (p<0.05). When Doppler was present, male predominance, HLA B27 positive, heel pain, and higher number of swollen joints, CRP levels, disease activity by the patient and BASDAI questions 2 and 3 achieved statistical significance (p<0.01).


The presence of bursa and Doppler signal at retrocalcaneal bursa level could have a relevant contribution to differentiate SpA patients, and were correlated with clinical outcomes of SpA disease activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk