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RMD Open. 2017 Sep 7;3(2):e000482. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2017-000482. eCollection 2017.

Relationships between ultrasound enthesitis, disease activity and axial radiographic structural changes in patients with early spondyloarthritis: data from DESIR cohort.

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Department of Rheumatology, Purpan Teaching Hospital, Toulouse, France.
Inserm UMR1027, Toulouse, France.
Department of Rheumatology, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse, France.
Inserm UMR 1043, Toulouse, France.
Department of Rheumatology, CHU Brabois, Nancy, France.



To search for association between ultrasound (US) enthesis abnormalities and disease activity, spine and sacro-iliac joints (SIJ) MRI inflammatory lesions and spine structural changes in a cohort of patients suspected for axial spondyloarthritis (SpA).


Patients: Of 708 patients included in the DESIR(Devenir des Spondyloarthrites Indifférenciées Récentes) cohort, 402 had an US enthesis assessment and were selected for this study. Imaging: Achilles, lateral epicondyles, superior patellar ligament, inferior patellar ligament entheses were systematically US scanned and abnormalities were summed in US structural and power Doppler (PDUS) scores. Spine radiographs, SIJ and spine MRI scans were centrally scored modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score (mSASSS), presence of MRI sacro-iliitis, Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada and Berlin scores. Analysis: The associations between the US structural/PDUS scores and disease activity, C reactive protein (CRP), MRI SIJ and spine inflammatory lesions and mSASSS were tested by Spearman's correlation tests.


Among the 402 patients included (median age: 33.5 years, males: 48.5%), 55% had US enthesis structural abnormalities while 14% had PDUS abnormalities. There was no association between US scores and Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index, CRP or inflammatory lesions on SIJ and spine MRI. There was a correlation between US structural and PDUS scores and the mSASSS (respectively, r=0.151, p=0.005; r=0.143, p=0.007). The proportion of patients with syndesmophytes was higher in the case of US enthesophytes (26% of syndesmophytes vs 6% in the absence of US enthesophytes, p<0.0001).


While the US abnormalities do not seem to be a helpful tool for monitoring disease activity in axial SpA, US enthesophytes, strongly associated with axial syndesmophytes, might be a marker of interest for disease severity.


NCT01648907, date of registration : 20 July 2012.


sacro-iliitis; spondyloarthritis; syndesmophytis; ultrasound

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