More rheumatologists are embracing musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) to diagnose and manage rheumatic diseases. In response, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) assembled a task force to investigate and determine best practices for use of MSUS in rheumatology practice. The resulting scenario-based recommendations, which aim to help clinicians understand when it is reasonable to integrate MSUS into their rheumatology practices, now appear online in Arthritis Care & Research.
In Europe, more than 100 million individuals are affected by rheumatic diseases, according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). The ACR estimates that nearly 50 million Americans are burdened by arthritis and more than 7 million individuals suffer from inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
"With so many people affected by rheumatic diseases, including arthritis, a diagnostic tool such as MSUS that is minimally invasive and with little risk to patients is an important tool for rheumatologists," explains lead researcher Dr. Tim McAlindon from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass. "Our task force goal was to establish when use of MSUS was 'reasonable' in a number of medical situations."
The task force reviewed medical literature to come up with scenario-based recommendations for how MSUS could be used in rheumatology practice. These recommendations include a rating by type of evidence, with Level A supported by at least two randomized clinical trials or one or more meta-analyses of randomized trials; Level B backed by one randomized trial, non-randomized studies or meta-analyses of non-randomized studies; and Level C confirmed by consensus expert opinion, case studies, or standard clinical care.
The complete list of 14 recommendations of the reasonable use of MSUS in rheumatology, along with level of evidence, is published in the article. Partial list of recommendations includes:
The benefits of MSUS use include a faster, more accurate diagnosis, better measurement of treatment success, reduced procedural pain, and improved patient satisfaction. However, the authors highlight that economic impact was not part of this study. Dr. McAlindon concludes, "Further study of the cost-effectiveness and long-term outcomes of MSUS is necessary to determine its value compared to other interventions."
This study is published in Arthritis Care & Research. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full citation: American College of Rheumatology Report on Reasonable Use of Musculoskeletal Ultrasonography in Rheumatology Clinical Practice." Timothy McAlindon, Eugene Kissin, Levon Nazarian, Veena Ranganath, Shraddha Prakash, Mihaela Taylor, Raveendhara R Bannuru, Sachin Srinivasan, Maneesh Gogia, Maureen A McMahon, Jennifer Grossman, Suzanne Kafaja, John FitzGerald. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: October 29, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.21836).
URL Upon publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/acr.21836
About the Journal:
Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed research publication that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). For more information, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)2151-4658.
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Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., the American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 9,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. Rheumatologists are internists or pediatricians who are qualified by training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Over 50 million Americans - including nearly 300,000 children - suffer from the painful, disabling and sometimes fatal effects of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. The ACR's mission is to advance rheumatology. Learn more by visiting www.rheumatology.org. or follow ACR on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acrheum.
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