Classification criteria for spondyloarthropathies

World J Orthop. 2011 Dec 18;2(12):107-15. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v2.i12.07.


Spondyloarthropathies (SpA) are a group of inflammatory arthritis which consist of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), reactive arthritis, arthritis/spondylitis associated with psoriasis (PsA), and arthritis/spondylitis associated with inflammatory bowel diseases. It is now more important than ever to diagnose and treat SpA early. New therapeutic agents including blockers of tumor necrosis factor have yielded tremendous responses not only in advanced disease but also in the early stages of the disease. Sacroiliitis on conventional radiography is the result of structural changes which may appear late in the disease process. However, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can visualize active inflammation at sacroiliac joints and spine in recent onset disease. The modified New York criteria, the European Spondyloarthropathy Study Group criteria and the Amor criteria do not include advanced imaging techniques like MRI which is very sensitive to the early Inflammatory changes. Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society has defined MRI methods for the assessment of sacroiliac joints and spine, criteria for inflammatory back pain and developed new criteria for classification of axial and peripheral spondyloarthritis. These new criteria are intended to be used for patients with SpA at the very early stage of their disease. Also, classification of psoriatic arthritis study group developed criteria for the classification of PsA. The widespread use of these criteria in clinical trials will provide evidence for a better definition of early disease and recognize many patients who may further develop classical AS or PsA. These efforts will guide therapeutic trials of potent drugs like biological agents in the early stage of these diseases.

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; Classification criteria; Psoriatic arthritis; Spondyloarthritis.