What is the accuracy of MRI of the hands in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Ian Y Y Tsou, MBBS, FRCR; Chief Editor: Felix S Chew, MD, MBA, MEd  more...
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Imaging of early synovial disease by MRI makes early detection possible, but the findings are not specific in differentiating RA from other causes of synovitis or joint erosions.

Schwenzer et al investigated dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in the differential diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PA) and RA in the hand and wrist by evaluating 45 patients (31 with RA; 14 with PA) with a 3-T whole-body MR unit. There was a statistically significant difference observed between the 2 groups regarding relative synovial enhancement after 15 minutes following contrast injection; however, there was no difference in relative enhancement at 35 seconds, 52 seconds, or 3 minutes. Significant correlations were found between inflammatory parameters and dynamic contrast-enhanced parameters in patients with RA but not in those with PA. [22]

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