Reliability exercise for the polymyalgia rheumatica classification criteria study: the oranjewoud ultrasound substudy

Int J Rheumatol. 2009;2009:738931. doi: 10.1155/2009/738931. Epub 2009 Jun 14.


Objective. A study supported by the EULAR and the ACR being conducted to establish classification criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) will include ultrasound examination of the shoulders and hips. Ultrasound (US) depicts glenohumeral joint effusion, biceps tenosynovitis, subdeltoid bursitis, hip joint synovitis, and trochanteric bursitis in PMR. These findings may aid in distinguishing PMR from other diseases. The purpose of this study was to assess standards and US interreader agreement of participants in the PMR classification criteria study. Methods. Sixteen physicians in four groups examined shoulders and hips of 4 patients and 4 healthy adults with ultrasound. Overall agreement and interobserver agreement were calculated. Results. The overall agreement (OA) between groups was 87%. The OA for healthy shoulders was 88.8%, for healthy hips 100%, for shoulders with pathology 85.2%, and 74.3% for hips with pathology, respectively. Conclusion. There was a high degree of agreement found for the examination of healthy shoulders and pathologic hips. Agreement was moderate for pathologic shoulders and perfect for healthy hips. US of shoulder and hips performed by different examiners is a reliable and feasible tool for assessment of PMR related disease pathology and can be incorporated into a classification criteria study.