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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2014 Mar;41(3):473-80.
doi: 10.3899/jrheum.130581. Epub 2014 Feb 1.

Erosions and Fatty Lesions of Sacroiliac Joints in Patients With Axial Spondyloarthritis: Evaluation of Different MRI Techniques and Two Scoring Methods

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Erosions and Fatty Lesions of Sacroiliac Joints in Patients With Axial Spondyloarthritis: Evaluation of Different MRI Techniques and Two Scoring Methods

Michaela Krohn et al. J Rheumatol. .

Abstract

Objective: Assessment of structural damage of sacroiliac joints (SIJ) in patients with axial spondyloarthritides (axSpA) has been discussed as a useful outcome measure in clinical trials. The aim of our study was to evaluate different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scoring methods and pulse sequences with a focus on fatty lesions and bony erosions.

Methods: Seventy-five patients with the diagnosis of axSpA underwent MRI at 3 timepoints as part of the ESTHER trial, which compared 2 groups of patients treated with etanercept or sulfasalazine. Two MRI sequences [unenhanced T1-weighted (T1w) turbo spin-echo (TSE) and unenhanced T1w opposed-phase gradient-echo sequences (opGRE)] and 2 different scoring systems (simple and comprehensive Berlin method) were used for the evaluation of fatty lesions and erosions of the SIJ. Differences between techniques and methods were evaluated by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and standardized response means (SRM).

Results: Applying the simple Berlin method, mean fatty lesion scores for etanercept-treated patients were 4.59 and 5.19 at baseline and Week 48, respectively, while the comprehensive Berlin method revealed mean fatty lesion scores of 6.59 and 7.64, respectively. Corresponding SRM were 0.59 and 0.86 for simple and comprehensive methods, respectively, while ICC dropped from 0.76-0.77 to 0.59-0.62. Scoring of erosions on T1w opGRE images resulted in a higher interreader agreement (ICC of 0.65) compared to T1w TSE sequences (ICC of 0.18).

Conclusion: Better characterization of fatty lesion changes within 1 year was achieved by the comprehensive Berlin scoring method; however, more reader variation has to be taken into account. The delineation of erosions is markedly improved when using T1w opGRE pulse sequences.

Keywords: ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS; AXIAL SPONDYLOARTHRITIS; MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING; SACROILIAC JOINTS; SACROILIITIS; SCORING SYSTEM.

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