Ultrasound imaging for the rheumatologist. XXIV. Sonographic evaluation of wrist and hand joint and tendon involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Nov-Dec 2009;27(6):897-901.


Systemic lupus erhthematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune multisystem disorder characterised by frequent musculoskeletal manifestations. Joint involvement in SLE is usually not erosive or destructive but some patients develop hand erosive arthritis or deforming arthropathy of the hand (respectively "rhupus" hand and Jaccoud arthritis). To date, few studies, evaluated joint and tendon involvement in SLE patients by US. We studied wrist and hand structure, using ultrasound, in 50 patients affected by SLE, detecting inflammatory joint involvement in 80% of them at the wrist and in 50% at the hand. Tenosynovitis was visualised in 14 patients, while structural damage was present in 12% of the SLE group. Those results reinforce the importance of including musculoskeletal ultrasound in the patient assessment, especially in those cases in which physical examination is not conclusive.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tenosynovitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Tenosynovitis / etiology
  • Ultrasonography