Consensus-driven conceptual development of a standardized whole body-MRI scoring system for assessment of disease activity in juvenile idiopathic arthritis: MRI in JIA OMERACT working group

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2021 Dec;51(6):1350-1359. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2021.07.017. Epub 2021 Aug 15.


Objectives: Whole body-MRI is helpful in directing diagnostic and treatment approaches, and as a research outcome measure. We describe our initial consensus-driven phase towards developing a whole body-MRI scoring system for juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Methods: An iterative approach using three rounds of anonymous Delphi surveys followed by a consensus meeting was used to draft the structure of the whole body-MRI scoring system, including the relevant anatomic joints and entheses for assessment, diagnostic item selection, definition and grading, and selection of appropriate MRI planes and sequences. The surveys were completed independently by an international expert group consisting of pediatric radiologists and rheumatologists.

Results: Twenty-two experts participated in at least one of three rounds of Delphi surveys and a concluding consensus meeting. A first iteration scoring system was developed which ultimately included the assessment of 100 peripheral, 23 chest, and 76 axial joints, and 64 entheses, with 2-4 diagnostic items graded in each of the items, using binary (presence/absence) and 2-3-level ordinal scores. Recommendations on anatomic MRI planes and sequences were specified as the minimally necessary imaging protocol for the scoring system.

Conclusion: A novel whole body-MRI scoring system for juvenile idiopathic arthritis was developed by consensus among members of MRI in JIA OMERACT working group. Further iterative refinements, reliability testing, and responsiveness are warranted in upcoming studies.

Keywords: Adolescents; Children; Enthesitis-related arthritis; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Scoring system; Spondyloarthropathy; Whole body-MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rheumatologists