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RMD Open. 2019 Aug 6;5(2):e001008. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2019-001008. eCollection 2019.

ASDAS is associated with both the extent and intensity of DW-MRI spinal inflammation in active axial spondyloarthritis.

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Department Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
Department of Radiology, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
Contributed equally



To investigate the relationship between Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) and intensity of spinal inflammation measured by apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in MRI in participants with active axial spondyloarthritis (SpA).


Participants with axial SpA and back pain were recruited. Clinical, demographic, biochemical and imaging data were collected. ASDAS was calculated based on C reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Inflammatory lesions were identified in short tau inversion recovery images and the corresponding ADC maps to determine the maximum apparent diffusion coefficient (ADCmax), normalised maximum ADC, mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADCmean) and normalised mean ADC by two independent readers. Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) spine and sacroiliac (SI) joint MRI indexes were determined. Univariate and multivariate linear regression models were used to determine the associations between of ASDAS with ADC values, SPARCC spine and SI MRI scores.


Eighty-two participants had identifiable ADC lesions. Multivariate analyses using ADCmax and SPARCC spine MRI as independent variables showed associations with ASDAS-CRP (ADCmax: B=0.27, p=0.02; SPARCC: B=0.32, p=0.01) and ASDAS-ESR (ADCmax: B=0.24, p=0.03; SPARCC: B=0.36, p<0.01); using ADCmean and SPARCC spine MRI as independent variables also showed an association with ASDAS-ESR (ADCmean: B=0.22, p=0.05; SPARCC: B=0.36, p<0.01) and a tendency to associate with ASDAS-CRP (ADCmean: B=0.21, p=0.07; SPARCC: B=0.34, p<0.01).


ASDAS is associated with both the extent and the intensity of spinal inflammation in patients with detectable inflammatory lesions. Our results showed that ASDAS is an objective disease assessment tool.

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Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada MRI; ankylosing spondylitis disease activity index; diffusion-weighted imaging; inflammation; short tau inversion recovery sequence; spondyloarthritis

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