Objective: Sonography and arthrography are techniques used to detect rotator cuff tears (RCT). The diagnostic value of sonography executed by a rheumatologist versus that of arthrography performed by a radiologist for assessment of RCT was investigated among patients with unilateral chronic shoulder complaints without an underlying inflammatory rheumatic disease.
Methods: Forty-eight patients underwent sonography, arthrography, and surgical inspection, the results of surgical inspection being the gold standard.
Results: Sensitivity for assessment of a full thickness RCT was 0.86 for sonography and 0.77 for arthrography, specificity was 0.88 for sonography and 0.92 for arthrography.
Conclusion: Compared to arthrography performed by the radiologist, sonography executed by the rheumatologist is as useful for assessment of full thickness rotator cuff tears. Sonography performed by the rheumatologist in combination with history taking and the physical examination during a single visit might change the routine daily practice of rheumatologists.