Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Diffusion-weighted MRI in the Assessment of Arthritis in the Knee

Anouk M Barendregt, Valentina Mazzoli, E Charlotte van Gulik, Dieneke Schonenberg-Meinema, Amara Nassar-Sheikh Al Rashid, Charlotte M Nusman, Koert M Dolman, J Merlijn van den Berg, Taco W Kuijpers, Aart J Nederveen, Mario Maas, Robert Hemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can depict the inflamed synovial membrane in arthritis. Purpose: To study the diagnostic accuracy of DWI for the detection of arthritis compared with the clinical reference standard and to compare DWI to contrast material–enhanced MRI for the detection of synovial inflammation. Materials and Methods: In this institutional review board–approved prospective study, 45 participants with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or suspected of having JIA (seven boys, 38 girls; median age, 14 years [interquartile range, 12–16 years]) were included between December 2015 and December 2018. Study participants underwent pre- and postcontrast 3.0-T MRI of the knee with an additional DWI sequence. For the clinical reference standard, a multidisciplinary team determined the presence or absence of arthritis on the basis of clinical, laboratory, and imaging findings (excluding DWI). Two data sets were scored by two radiologists blinded to all clinical data; data set 1 contained pre- and postcontrast sequences (contrast-enhanced MRI), and data set 2 contained precontrast and DWI sequences (DWI). Diagnostic accuracy was determined by comparing the scores of the DWI data set to those of the clinical reference standard. Second, DWI was compared with contrast-enhanced MRI regarding detection of synovial inflammation. Results: Sensitivity for detection of arthritis for DWI was 93% (13 of the 14 participants with arthritis were correctly classified with DWI; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 64%, 100%) and specificity was 81% (25 of 31 participants without arthritis were correctly classified with DWI; 95% CI: 62%, 92%). Scores for synovial inflammation at DWI and contrast-enhanced MRI agreed in 37 of 45 participants (82%), resulting in a sensitivity of 92% (12 of 13 participants; 95% CI: 62%, 100%) and specificity of 78% (25 of 32 participants; 95% CI: 60%, 90%) with DWI when contrast-enhanced MRI was considered the reference standard. Conclusion: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was accurate in detecting arthritis in pediatric participants with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or suspected of having JIA and showed agreement with contrast-enhanced MRI. The results indicate that DWI could replace contrast-enhanced MRI for imaging of synovial inflammation in this patient group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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