OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study in clinically active juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) was to assess the frequency and distribution pattern of synovitis as hallmark of disease and additional soft-tissue and bony abnormalities on MRI in the knee and wrist as two target joints.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: MRI datasets of 153 clinically active JIA patients (110 with knee and 43 with wrist involvement) were evaluated independently by two readers for the presence of literature-based imaging features: "synovial hypertrophy," "bone marrow changes," "bone erosions," "tenosynovitis" (only in the wrist), and "cartilage lesions" (only in the knee) in accordance with validated definitions and scoring locations.
RESULTS: Synovial hypertrophy was most frequently observed--both in the knee and in the wrist (61.8-65.1% of cases). For the knee, the most frequently involved locations were the cruciate ligaments (46/183 locations [25.1%] affected with synovial hypertrophy) and medial patella (18/62 locations [29.0%] with bone marrow changes). Cartilage lesions and bone erosions were rare (5.5-7.3% of cases). For the wrist, most frequently involved were the radiocarpal joint (21/64 locations [32.8%] with synovial hypertrophy), lunate (7/46 locations [15.2%] with bone marrow changes), and capitate or triquetrum (6/28 locations [21.4%] with bone erosions). Tenosynovitis was a common wrist-specific feature (46.5% of cases). MRI showed no abnormalities in a subgroup of patients with clinically active knee (23.6%) and wrist (16.3%) involvement.
CONCLUSION: The distribution pattern of MRI abnormalities in the knee and wrist of active JIA patients provides a practical tool to detect a signature of JIA disease activity in target joints.