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Summary Findings of a Systematic Literature Review of the Ultrasound Assessment of Bone Erosions in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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  • Marcin Szkudlarek
  • Lene Terslev
  • Richard J Wakefield
  • Marina Backhaus
  • Peter V Balint
  • George A W Bruyn
  • Emilio Filippucci
  • Frederique Gandjbakhch
  • Annamaria Iagnocco
  • Peter Mandl
  • Ingrid Möller
  • Esperanza Naredo
  • Wolfgang A Schmidt
  • Maria Antonietta d'Agostino
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OBJECTIVE: Bone erosions in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been studied in an increasing amount of research. Both earlier and present classification criteria of RA contain erosions as a significant classification component. Ultrasound (US) can detect bone changes in accessible surfaces. Therefore, the study group performed a systematic literature review of assessment of RA bone erosions with US.

METHODS: A systematic search of PubMed and Embase was performed. Data on the definitions of RA bone erosions, their size, scoring, relation to synovitis, comparators, and elements of the OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials) filter were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: The selection process identified 58 original research papers. The assessed joints were most frequently metacarpophalangeal (MCP; 41 papers), proximal interphalangeal (19 papers), and metatarsophalangeal joints (MTP; 18 papers). The OMERACT definition of RA bone erosion on US was used most often (17 papers). Second and fifth MCP and fifth MTP were recommended as target joints. Conventional radiography was the most frequently used comparator (27 papers), then magnetic resonance imaging (17 papers) and computed tomography (5 papers). Reliability of assessment was presented in 20 papers and sensitivity to change in 11 papers.

CONCLUSION: This paper presents results of a systematic literature review of bone erosion assessment in RA with US. The survey suggests that US can be a helpful adjunct to the existing methods of imaging bone erosions in RA. It analyzes definitions, scoring systems, used comparators, and elements of the OMERACT filter. It also presents recommendations for a future research agenda based on the results of the review.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

ID: 46212910