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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 May;63(5):735-42. doi: 10.1002/acr.20407.

Initial evaluation of an ultrasound measure for assessing the activity of skin lesions in juvenile localized scleroderma.

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Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey, USA.



To evaluate the construct validity of 2 proposed measures (the Ultrasound Disease Activity [U-DA] and the Tissue Thickness Score [TTS]) for evaluating sonographic differences in juvenile localized scleroderma skin lesions.


We conducted a retrospective review of juvenile localized scleroderma patients who had ultrasound scans of their skin lesions between October 2005 and February 2009. Imaged lesions were classified as active or inactive based upon clinical assessment. Lesions had to have been imaged within 1 month of a clinic visit or have the same clinical assessment during both the visit before and the visit after the scan. Two physicians scored the scans using the U-DA, which scores for differences in lesion echogenicity and vascularity compared with normal tissue. Tissue thickness differences were evaluated by percent differences and by using the TTS. Wilcoxon's rank sum test was performed to assess differences.


We studied 52 scans from 21 patients, 32 scans of active skin lesions and 20 scans of inactive skin lesions. Features reported by clinicians as indicative of active disease included erythema, warmth, violaceous color, new lesion, expansion of lesion, and induration. The U-DA was significantly different between active and inactive skin lesions (P = 0.0010) with significant differences found for the parameters of total echogenicity, hypodermis echogenicity, and deep tissue layer vascularity (P = 0.0014, P = 0.0023, and P = 0.0374, respectively). No significant differences were found for tissue layer thickness or TTS.


The U-DA may be a useful tool in the identification of localized scleroderma activity. Further study is needed to prospectively evaluate the validity, reliability, and sensitivity of this potential monitoring tool.

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