Objective: To investigate the presence of lower limb entheseal abnormalities in IBD patients without clinical signs and symptoms of SpA and their correlation with IBD clinical variables.
Methods: A total of 81 IBD patients [55 Crohn's disease (CD) and 26 ulcerative colitis (UC), 43 females and 38 males, mean age 41.3 (12.4) years, BMI 24 (2)] with low active (12) and inactive (67) disease were consecutively studied with US (LOGIQ5 General Electric 10-MHz linear array transducer) of lower limb entheses and compared with 40 healthy controls matched for sex, age and BMI. Quadriceps, patellar, Achilleon and plantar fascia entheses were scored according to the 0-36 Glasgow Ultrasound Enthesitis Scoring System (GUESS) and power Doppler (PD). Correlations of GUESS and PD with IBD features [duration, type (CD/UC) and activity (disease activity index for CD/Truelove score for UC)] were investigated. The intra- and inter-reader agreements for US were estimated in all images detected in patients and controls.
Results: Of the 81 patients, 71 (92.6%) presented almost one tendon alteration with mean GUESS 5.1 (3.5): 81.5% thickness (higher than controls P < 0.05), 67.9% enthesophytosis, 27.1% bursitis and 16.1% erosions. PD was positive in 13/81 (16%) patients. In controls, US showed only enthesophytes (5%) and no PD. GUESS and PD were independent of duration, activity or type (CD/UC) of IBD. The intra- and inter-reader agreements were high (>0.9 intra-class correlation variability).
Conclusions: US entheseal abnormalities are present in IBD patients without clinical signs and symptoms of SpA. US enthesopathy is independent of activity, duration and type of gut disease.