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To use high-resolution imaging to characterise palindromic rheumatism (PR) and to compare the imaging pattern observed to that seen in new-onset rheumatoid arthritis (NORA). Ultrasound (US) assessment of synovitis, tenosynovitis and non-synovial extracapsular inflammation (ECI) was performed during and between flares in a prospective treatment-naive PR cohort. MRI of the flaring region was performed where possible. For comparison, the same US assessment was also performed in anticyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) positive individuals with musculoskeletal symptoms (CCP+ at risk) and patients with NORA. Thirty-one of 79 patients with PR recruited were assessed during a flare. A high frequency of ECI was identified on US; 19/31 (61%) of patients had ECI including 12/19 (63%) in whom ECI was identified in the absence of synovitis. Only 7/31 (23%) patients with PR had synovitis (greyscale ≥1 and power Doppler ≥1) during flare. In the hands/wrists, ECI was more prevalent in PR compared with NORA and CCP+ at risk (65% vs 29 % vs 6%, p<0.05). Furthermore, ECI without synovitis was specific for PR (42% PR vs 4% NORA (p=0.003) and 6% CCP+ at risk (p=0.0012)). Eleven PR flares were captured by MRI, which was more sensitive than US for synovitis and ECI. 8/31 (26%) patients with PR developed RA and had a similar US phenotype to NORA at progression. PR has a distinct US pattern characterised by reversible ECI, often without synovitis. In patients presenting with new joint swelling, US may refine management by distinguishing relapsing from persistent arthritis. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


Kulveer Mankia, Maria-Antonietta D'Agostino, Richard J Wakefield, Jackie L Nam, Waqar Mahmood, Andrew J Grainger, Paul Emery. Identification of a distinct imaging phenotype may improve the management of palindromic rheumatism. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. 2019 Jan;78(1):43-50

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PMID: 30297331

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