The role of ultrasound-defined tenosynovitis and synovitis in the prediction of rheumatoid arthritis development.
Sahbudin I., Pickup L., Nightingale P., Allen G., Cader Z., Singh R., de Pablo P., Buckley CD., Raza K., Filer A.
Objectives: Tenosynovitis (TS) is common in early arthritis. However, the value of US-defined TS in predicting RA development is unclear. We assessed the predictive utility of US-defined TS alongside US-defined synovitis and clinical and serological variables in a prospective cohort of early arthritis patients. Methods: One hundred and seven patients with clinically apparent synovitis of one or more joint and symptom duration ⩽3 months underwent baseline clinical, laboratory and US assessment of 19 bilateral joint sites and 16 bilateral tendon compartments. Diagnostic outcome was determined after 18 months, applying the 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for RA. The predictive values of US-defined TS for persistent RA were compared with those of US-defined synovitis, clinical and serological variables. Results: A total of 4066 US joint sites and 3424 US tendon compartments were included in the analysis. Forty-six patients developed persistent RA, 17 patients developed non-RA persistent disease and 44 patients had resolving disease at follow-up. US-defined TS in at least one tendon compartment at baseline was common in all groups (RA 85%, non-RA persistent disease 71% and resolving 70%). On multi-variate analysis, US-defined digit flexor TS provided independent predictive data over and above the presence of ACPA and US-defined joint synovitis. Conclusion: US-defined digit flexor TS provided independent predictive data for persistent RA development in patients with early arthritis. The predictive utility of this tendon site should be further assessed in a larger cohort; investigators designing imaging-based predictive algorithms for RA development should include this tendon component as a candidate variable.