Current state of musculoskeletal ultrasound training and implementation in Europe: results of a survey of experts and scientific societies

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2010 Dec;49(12):2438-43. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keq243. Epub 2010 Sep 13.


Objective: To document the current state of musculoskeletal US (MSUS) training and extent of implementation among rheumatologists in the member countries of EULAR.

Methods: An English-language questionnaire, divided into five sections (demographics, clinical use of MSUS, overall MSUS training for rheumatologists, MSUS education in the rheumatology training curriculum and education in MSUS offered by the national rheumatology society) was sent by e-mail to three different groups: (i) all national rheumatology societies of EULAR; (ii) all national societies of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology; and (iii) 19 senior rheumatologists involved in MSUS training from 14 European countries.

Results: Thirty-one (70.5%) out of 44 countries responded to the questionnaire (59.1% of national rheumatology societies, 34.5% of the national US societies and 100% of expert ultrasonographers). Rheumatology was listed among medical specialties that mainly perform MSUS in 20 (64.5%) countries; however, in most [19 (63.3%)] countries<10% of rheumatologists routinely perform MSUS in clinical practice. Training varies widely from country to country, with low rates of competency assessment. MSUS education is part of the rheumatology training curriculum in over half the surveyed countries, being compulsory in 7 (22.6%) countries and optional in 11 (35.5%).

Conclusions: This study confirms the high uptake of MSUS across Europe. The reported variation in training and practice between countries suggests a need for standardization in areas including training guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / standards
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Rheumatology / education*
  • Societies, Scientific
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / standards