Public Release: 

Ultrasound-defined tenosynovitis identified as strong predictor of early RA

Clinical outcomes may be improved by identifying need for treatment before onset of symptoms

European League Against Rheumatism

Rome, Italy, 10 June 2015: The results of a study presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2015) Press Conference showed that ultrasound diagnosis of tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendon sheath) was superior to clinical symptoms and signs in the prediction of early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). This is the first study to show that ultrasound-defined tenosynovitis is a strong predictor of early RA. By identifying the need for treatment before the onset of symptoms and signs, this procedure has the potential to improve clinical outcomes.

"There is a wealth of evidence that the clinical signs and symptoms of RA may be preceded by a preclinical phase lasting several years, and this preclinical phase is likely to represent an important therapeutic window within which clinical outcomes can be dramatically improved, " explained Dr. Andrew Filer of the Rheumatology Research Group, University of Birmingham, UK. "We therefore set out to explore the ability of ultrasound-defined tenosynovitis to predict very early RA during the earliest undifferentiated phase of disease," Dr. Filer said.

Results showed that ultrasound diagnosis of tenosynovitis was superior to clinical symptoms and signs, such as early morning stiffness, symmetrical arthritis and hand joint arthritis in predicting early RA. Specifically scanning of the hand flexor tendons and Extensor Carpi Ulnaris tendons provided the optimal minimal ultrasound data to predict early RA.

The EULAR Study Group for Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) had previously recommended the need to identify new biomarkers for the prediction of RA in early undifferentiated disease.

107 patients with clinically apparent synovitis involving at least one joint, and symptom duration of three months or less, underwent clinical and multiple tendon ultrasound assessments. Outcomes were determined after 18 months using 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria.

A blinded ultrasound assessment was carried out on each patient to determine the presence of tenosynovitis at 16 tendon regions: bilateral fingers (extensor and flexor compartments), wrists (extensor and flexor compartments), shoulders (biceps tendon), and ankles (anterior extensors, peroneals, and posterior tibialis). The definition of tenosynovitis using grey scale and Power Doppler readings was based on the OMERACT Ultrasound Task Force recommendations.4

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Abstract Number: OP0015

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress Press Office in Room 5B of Fiera Roma during EULAR 2015 or on:
Email: eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com
Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7738 890 799/ +44 (0) 20 7331 5442
Twitter: @EULAR_Press
Youtube: Eular Pressoffice

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with rheumatic diseases throughout Europe.

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, and treatment of rheumatic diseases and the rehabilitation of those it affects.

With 45 scientific member societies, 35 People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) organisations, 19 health professionals associations and 21 corporate members, EULAR highlights the importance of combating rheumatic diseases through both medical means and patient care.

EULAR 2015 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with around 14,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals and related audiences in attendance from more than 120 countries. Over the course of the congress there will be some 300 oral and just under 2,000 poster abstract presentations, more than 150 sessions, 400 lectures, 40 poster tours and 350 invited speakers.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

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