Purpose: To evaluate the value of ultrasound (US) in assessing joint inflammation in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) of the knee.
Materials and methods: US scans obtained in 36 children (mean age, 8 years) with JRA of the knee were compared with those obtained in 30 healthy children.
Results: Changes in synovial membrane (synovial thickness), presence of fluid in the suprapatellar bursa, and alterations in the contour (blurring) of the articular cartilage showed statistically significant differences between JRA patients and control subjects. US was more sensitive than physical examination for detecting a minimal amount of intra-articular fluid in 21% of JRA-affected knees with no clinical evidence of active disease.
Conclusion: US is a simple, rapid, inexpensive, and accurate method for assessing joint inflammation in patients with JRA of the knee.