Rheumatoid Arthritis

Study Evaluates Use of MRI for Monitoring RA Joint Damage




Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be used to predict future joint damage observed on X-ray in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to the findings of a recent analysis.

The researchers analyzed data from 4 randomized controlled trials that included 1022 hands and wrists with early and established RA. X-rays of the hands and wrists were scored using van der Heijde-modified or Genant-modified Sharp methods, and MRIs were scored using Outcome Measures in Rheumatology RA MRI scores.

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The progression of erosion X-ray scores at weeks 24 and 52 were predicted by the progression of erosion scores on MRIs taken at weeks 12 and 24. Changes in MRI osteitis scores at week 12 and week 24 were also found to predict progressions of X-ray erosion scores at week 24 and week 52. Likewise, MRI changes in synovitis at weeks 12 and 52 predicted progression of X-ray joint erosion and joint-space narrowing at weeks 24 and 52.

“Early changes in joint damage and inflammation detected with MRI predict changes in joint damage evident on subsequent X-rays,” the researchers concluded.

—Melissa Weiss


Peterfy C, Strand V, Tian L, et al. Short-term changes on MRI predict long-term changes on radiography in rheumatoid arthritis: an analysis by an OMERACT Task Force of pooled data from four randomised controlled trials [published online May 13, 2017]. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017;76(6):992-997.