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General Applications of Ultrasound in Rheumatology: Why We Need It in Our Daily Practice

Ruta, Santiago MD*; Reginato, Anthony M. MD; Pineda, Carlos MD; Gutierrez, Marwin MD§On behalf of the Pan-American League Against Rheumatisms (PANLAR) Ultrasound Study Group

JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: April 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p 133–143
doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000000230

Ultrasound (US) is a noninvasive imaging technique that continues to gain interest among rheumatologists because of its undoubted utility for the assessment of a wide range of abnormalities in rheumatic diseases. It also has a great potential to be used at the time of consultation as an extension of the clinical examination.

Current data demonstrate that the standard clinical approach could result in an insensitive assessment of some the different aspects of the various rheumatic diseases for which US has become a feasible and effective imaging modality that allows early detection of anatomical changes, careful guidance for the aspiration and/or local treatment, and short- and long-term therapy monitoring at the joint, tendon, enthesis, nail, and skin levels. The spectrum of pathological conditions for which US plays a crucial role continues to increase over time and includes rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthropathies, osteoarthritis, crystal-related arthropathies, connective tissue disorders, and vasculitis.

It is expected that the inclusion of more longitudinal studies with a larger number of patients and more rigorous methodological approach will undoubtedly provide a better understanding of the significance of the abnormal US findings detected in order to provide the proper diagnostic and/or therapeutic approaches. In this article, we analyze the current potential applications of US in rheumatology and discuss the evidence supporting its use in the daily rheumatologic practice.

From the *Seccion Reumatologia, Servicio de Clinica Medica, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Argentina; †Division of Rheumatology, The Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, Providence, RI; ‡Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Laboratory, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, México, D.F., Mexico; and §Clinica Reumatologica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Jesi, Ancona, Italy.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Carlos Pineda, MD, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación, Calzada México-Xochimilco 289, Colonia Arenal de Guadalupe, México, D. F., 14389 México. E-mail:

PANLAR Ultrasound Study Group: Aliste Marta, Alva Magaly, Aragón-Laínez RA, Areny Roser, Audisio Marcelo, Bertoli Ana, Bouffard José Antonio, Díaz-Coto José Francisco, Filippucci Emilio, Flores Víctor, Hernández-Díaz Cristina, Hoffman Fritz, Kurslikova María, Mendonça José Alexander, Moya Carlos, Mora Claudia, Muñoz-Louis Roberto, Py Guillermo Enrique, Quintero Maritza, Rodríguez Henríquez Pedro, Rosenffet Marcos, Saavedra Jorge, Santiago Lida, Sedano Oscar, Solano Carla, Urioste Lorena, Ventura Rios Lucio, Villota Orlando, Carmen Ceron, Diego Saaibi, Mario Diaz, Johannes Roth.

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