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Ultrasonography Helps Differentiate Arthritis Types

Ultrasound found to be convenient, feasible, accurate, affordable in early diagnosis of arthritis

TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Ultrasound is effective for differentiating between the major types of arthritis when combined with a physical exam and patient history, according to a review recently published in The Open Medical Imaging Journal.

Homagni Sikha Roy, M.D., of SouthWest Medical University in Luzhou, China, and colleagues analyzed the findings of 52 experimental and clinical studies that assessed the use of ultrasound in imaging the major types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD), psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis, and spondyloarthritis.

The researchers found that different modalities of ultrasound were effective in imaging all of the major types of arthritis, with different strengths and drawbacks for each type of arthritis. For example, in osteoarthritis, ultrasound was particularly effective in identifying synovial changes within joints, soft tissue pathologies, osteophytosis, bony erosions, Baker cysts, and bursitis. In CPPD, ultrasound was useful in identifying calcium pyrophosphate crystals via specific anatomic characteristics of the crystals and provided a radiation-free alternative to the conventional X-ray. Ultrasound could also differentiate between gouty arthritis and CPPD.

“In addition to a good history and physical examination, ultrasound can prove to be a cheap, bedside, accurate imaging modality in evaluating and monitoring the disease process in each type of arthritis, if performed by a trained sonographer,” the authors write.

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