The use of musculoskeletal ultrasound in a Rheumatology Outpatient Clinic

Annamaria Iagnocco, Fulvia Ceccarelli, Carlo Perricone, Angelica Gattamelata, Annacarla Finucci, Eleonora Ricci, Chiara Scirocco, Iolanda Maria Rutigliano, Vasilia Iorgoveanu, Elena Cravotto, Guido Valesini


Introduction: Musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) represents a valid, reliable and sensitive-to-change tool for the evaluation of patients suffering from rheumatic conditions. This method demonstrates a wide applicability and availability, finding place in the clinical practice in rheumatology outpatient clinic. Aim: To perform an epidemiological evaluation related to the use of US in a university rheumatology outpatient clinic. Material and methods: During a 3-month period, data concerning consecutive patients attending to the US Unit of Department of Rheumatology, Sapienza University of Rome were registered. We collected the demographic data, the diagnosis, the reason for the US examination, the examined joints, as well as the requesting physicians’ specialty. Results: In the October-December 2013 period, 572 patients (M/F 137/435; mean age±SD 55.2±15.8 years) were registered. The US examination was more frequently requested for the following diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (29.5%), osteoarthritis (10.6%), spondyloarthritis (9.1%), and connective tissue diseases (8.9%). In 239 of cases (41.8%), the US evaluation was requested for other indications. The US evaluation was requested slightly more frequently for monitoring (55.7%) compared to diagnosis (44.3%). The requesting physician was a rheumatologist in the majority of the cases (80.6%). The most frequent requested were the hand joints (28.9%) and wrists (23.3%). Conclusions: US examinations are most frequently used in the evaluation of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and mainly to monitor the disease. The exam is requested mostly by rheumatologists. The hand joints and wrists were the most frequently evaluated.


clinical applications; rheumatology; ultrasound

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