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January 2018
November 2017
Iris Eshed MD and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most sensitive imaging modality for the detection of sacroiliitis. Diagnosing sacroiliitis on MRI is not always straightforward and can be challenging in some cases.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of alternative diagnoses suggested by MRI and characterize the MR appearance of the most common ones.

Methods: Consecutive MRI examinations of the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) performed between 2005 and 2012 were retrospectively evaluated for the presence of structural and active sacroiliitis findings according to the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society guidelines. Alternative diagnoses, including degenerative changes, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), Osteitis condensans ilii (OCI), septic sacroiliitis/discitis, stress reaction as well as anatomic variants, were registered

Results: We evaluated 281 MRI examinations, 116 males, 165 females, average age 44 ± 15 years. Sacroiliitis was found in 71 examinations (25%) and alternative diagnoses were suggested in 87 (31%) (OCI 8.9%, anatomic variants 5.3%, septic sacroiliitis 5.3%, degenerative findings 4.3%, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis [DISH] 1.5%, stress reaction 0.7%, tumor 0.3%). A normal examination was found in the remaining 123 examinations. Patients with alternative diagnoses were older than those with sacroiliitis (62 vs. 47 years of age, respectively, P > 0.05). Alternative pathologies in the SIJ were significantly more common in females (66) than males (21), P < 0.05.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of patients with suspected sacroiliitis had normal SIJ while the rest were more commonly diagnosed with other pathologies. A referral by an experienced rheumatologist may improve the sensitivity and specificity of this important examination.

Talia Levy, Salim Bader, Kay-Geert Hermann MD, Gal Yaniv MD, Gahl Grinberg MD, Oshry Mozes MD, Merav Lidar MD and Iris Eshed MD

Background: Enthesopathy may lead to calcification of the stylohyoid ligament and can cause elongation of the styloid process (SP).

Objectives: To evaluate whether SP elongation is associated with two common enthesitis-related diseases: ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH).

Methods: Cervical spine computed tomography (CT) examinations of patients with DISH (n=64, Resnick criteria), AS (n=24, New York criteria) and a controls (no radiological signs of DISH or AS, n=54) were retrospectively evaluated. The DISH group was further divided into patients with and without cervical DISH. The length of right and left SP was measured independently by two readers on coronal and sagittal curved reformats. The average right and left styloid length and average length per person were compared among the groups.

Results: Demographic characteristics were similar between the DISH and control groups (average age 68.2 ± 15.7, 69.2 ± 12.7 years, male:female ratio 48:16 and 35:19, respectively, P > 0.05), whereas age was significantly lower (average age: 53 ± 15 years, P < 0.0001) in the AS group, which was also composed mainly of men. The AS and DISH groups had significantly longer SP compared to controls (AS 37.9 ± 9.6 mm, DISH 34.4 ± 9 mm, control 30.3 ± 10.1 mm, P < 0.05). There was no correlation between age and SP length. Inter-reader reliability of SP measurements was excellent in all groups (ICC = 0.998, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: SP elongation is associated with both AS and DISH substantiating the enthesopathy-related pathophysiology of this finding.

Einat Slonimsky MD, Tammar Kushnir PhD, Assaf Kadar MD, Aharon Menahem MD, Alon Grundshtein MD, Steven Velekes MD, Merav Lidar MD, Shmuel Dekel MD and Iris Eshed MD

Background: Metal-on-metal total hip prostheses (MoM-THR) have been shown to produce hypersensitivity reactions and fluid collection (pseudotumor) by the hip as well as high blood metal ions levels (BMILs).

Objectives: To evaluate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) in selected body tissues around the hip of patients who underwent MoM hip replacement and to correlate to BMILs.

Methods: Sixty-one MRI hip examinations in 54 post-MoM-THR patients (18 males, 36 females, mean age 65 years) were retrospectively evaluated independently by two readers. The mean S/N ratio in a region of interest was calculated for periprosthetic pseudotumor collection (PPC), the bladder, fat, and muscle on axial T1w, FSE-T2w, and short tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequences on the same location. BMILs were retrieved from patient files.

Results: PPC was detected in 32 patients (52%) with an average volume of 82.48 mm3. BMIL did not correlate with the presence of PPCs but positively correlated with the PPC's volume. A trend for positive correlation was found between BMILs and S/N levels of STIR images for muscle and bladder as well as for PPC and cobalt levels. A trend for correlation was also seen between BMIL with PPC's T1 w S/N.

Conclusions: Alteration of MRI S/N for different hip tissues showed a tendency for correlation with BMILs, possibly suggesting that metal deposition occurs in the PPC as well as in the surrounding tissues and bladder.

Abdulla Watad MD, Iris Eshed MD and Dennis McGonagle MD FRCPI PhD

Enthesitis is a term that refers to inflammation at tendon, ligament, or joint capsule insertions. The entheses are increasinlgly considered to be the primary site of joint inflammation in the spondyloarthropathies including psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Great advances have occurred in the understanding of enthesopathy, which has resulted in a better understanding of the etiopathogenesis of PsA. Enthesitis is difficult to assess on both clinical examination and on imaging because of the overlap in features between mechanical, degenerative, and inflammatory pathologies. Ultrasonography frequently detects entheseal abnormalities in patients with psoriasis, despite the absence of clinical symptoms of arthropathy and the longitudinal value of such lesions for PsA prediction remains unknown. The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the assessment and monitoring of enthesitis is not fully agreed on but it is clearly superior for the assessment of spinal polyenthesitis and for diffuse peri-enthseal osteitis that can occur anywhere in the skeleton. Nuclear medicine, including conventional positron-emission tomography (PET) and high-resolution PET scan (hrPET), is more of a research tool for enthesitis and can, for example, help distinguish between PsA and osteoarthritis. Entheseal abnormalities are common in osteoarthritis, which creates diagnostic difficulty from PsA. Entheseal changes, especially on imaging, may also occur in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and likely reflect the extension of the inflammatory process from the adjacent synovium. The nail is anatomically anchored to the skeleton via a mini-enthesis network. An association between ultrasonography determined distal interphalageal joint (DIP) extensor tendon enthesopathy and clinical nail disease was found, which highlights the pivotal role of the enthesis in this PsA risk factor. This review summarizes the relevant insights and implication of imaging for enthesitis, primarily in PsA but also in other arthropathies.

 

December 2015
Gleb Slobodin MD and Iris Eshed MD

The term non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nrAxSpA) was coined for patients who have a clinical picture of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) but do not exhibit radiographic sacroiliitis. The ASAS classification criteria for nrAxSpA, ensuring the recruitment of homogenous study cohorts, were accepted in 2009, although the respective diagnostic criteria for daily clinical practice have not yet been developed. The clinical diagnosis should be based on the composite of clinical symptoms and signs of the disease, HLA B27 status, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of sacroiliac joints. Notably, a negative MRI or HLA B27 does not exclude the diagnosis in patients with a high clinical suspicion for nrAxSpA. The prevalence of nrAxSpA is similar to that of AS, but the former has a higher female preponderance. The rate of progression of nrAxSpA to the radiographic stage of disease (AS) ranges from 10% to 20% over 2 years. Current treatment strategies for nrAxSpA are the same as for AS and include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor-alpha. While this review summarizes the current achievements in the field of nrAxSpA, further understanding of the epidemiology and natural history of the disease and, particularly, mechanisms of inflammation and subsequent new bone formation is essential for the development of new treatment strategies for nrAxSpA patients. 

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