Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: magnetic resonance imaging of the clinically unaffected knee

E. Charlotte van Gulik, Mendy M. Welsink-Karssies, J. Merlijn van den Berg, Dieneke Schonenberg-Meinema, Koert M. Dolman, Anouk M. Barendregt, Charlotte M. Nusman, Mario Maas, Taco W. Kuijpers, Robert Hemke

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Background: Synovial thickening detected on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is present in a significant number of children with clinically inactive juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Objective: To evaluate patient characteristics and disease activity parameters in a cohort of children with clinically inactive JIA, both with and without synovial thickening, in order to clarify the observed discrepancy between clinical and MRI assessments. Materials and methods: We prospectively enrolled 52 clinically inactive JIA patients (median age 13.3 years, 63.5% girls) who underwent MRI of the knee as major target joint in JIA. Children were divided into two groups based on MRI outcome: group 1, with synovial thickening on MRI; and group 2, with no synovial thickening on MRI. We used the Juvenile Arthritis MRI Scoring system to evaluate synovial thickness. We compared patient characteristics and disease activity parameters between the groups. Results: Synovial thickening on MRI was present in 18 clinically inactive patients (group 1, 34.6%). The age was significantly lower for the patients in group 1 (median 10.7 versus 14.4, P=0.008). No significant differences were observed in any of the other patient characteristics nor the disease activity parameters tested. Conclusion: Synovial thickening on MRI was present in nearly 35% of the children with clinically inactive JIA. Children with synovial thickening on MRI were significantly younger than those without. This might indicate that younger patients are at risk of subclinical disease activity and under-treatment, although the exact clinical relevance of synovial thickening on MRI has not been determined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-340
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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