Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate a simplified version of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score (RAMRIS) for five joints of the hand (RAMRIS-5) in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) before and after the initiation of methotrexate (MTX) therapy using high-resolution, 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with a seropositive, early RA (disease duration of less than 6 months (range 2-23 weeks)) according to 2010 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) criteria (mean age 56.8 years, range 39-74) were prospectively assessed with a baseline investigation including clinical assessment (disease activity score of 28 joints (DAS-28) and C-reactive protein (CRP)) and 3-T MRI of the clinically dominant hand. Follow-up visits were performed 3 and 6 months after initiation of a MTX therapy at baseline. MRI scans were analyzed in accordance with RAMRIS and the simplified RAMRIS-5.
Results: DAS-28 and CRP decreased significantly after initiation of MTX therapy. Even though erosion scores increased over time, RAMRIS and RAMRIS-5 also decreased significantly after the start of therapy. There was a strong correlation between the total RAMRIS-5 and RAMRIS at baseline (r = 0.838; P <0.001) and follow-up (3 months: r = 0.876; P <0.001; 6 months: r = 0.897; P <0.001). In the short term (3-month follow-up), RAMRIS and RAMRIS-5 demonstrated similar ability to detect changes for all subgroups (bone edema, erosion, and synovitis). In the long-term comparison (6-month follow-up), RAMRIS-5 also showed similar effectiveness when detecting changes in bone edema and erosion compared with RAMRIS. Deviations occurred regarding only synovitis, where change was slightly higher in RAMRIS-5: SRM (RAMRIS) = 0.07 ± 0.14; SRM (RAMRIS-5) = 0.34 ± 0.06.
Conclusions: Three-Tesla MRI-based RAMRIS-5 is a simplified and resource-saving RAMRIS score which compares favorably with the RAMRIS when detecting changes in early RA. Even though there is a slight abbreviation between RAMRIS-5 and the original score regarding the change of synovitis, it may be used for diagnosis and therapy monitoring in follow-up evaluations.
Keywords: Early rheumatoid arthritis; High-field magnetic resonance imaging; Prediction; RAMRIS; RAMRIS-5.