OBJECTIVE: To formulate evidence-based recommendations and overarching principles on the use of imaging in the clinical management of crystal-induced arthropathies (CiAs).
METHODS: An international task force of 25 rheumatologists, radiologists, methodologists, healthcare professionals and patient research partners from 11 countries was formed according to the EULAR standard operating procedures. Fourteen key questions on the role of imaging in the most common forms of CiA were generated. The CiA assessed included gout, calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease and basic calcium phosphate deposition disease. Imaging modalities included conventional radiography, ultrasound, CT and MRI. Experts applied research evidence obtained from four systematic literature reviews using MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL. Task force members provided level of agreement (LoA) anonymously by using a Numerical Rating Scale from 0 to 10.
RESULTS: Five overarching principles and 10 recommendations were developed encompassing the role of imaging in various aspects of patient management: making a diagnosis of CiA, monitoring inflammation and damage, predicting outcome, response to treatment, guided interventions and patient education. Overall, the LoA for the recommendations was high (8.46-9.92).
CONCLUSIONS: These are the first recommendations that encompass the major forms of CiA and guide the use of common imaging modalities in this disease group in clinical practice.