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Rheumatoid shoulder assessed by ultrasonography: prevalence of abnormalities and associated factors

Imane Elbinoune
Bouchra Amine
Moudjibou Wabi
Hanan Rkain
Souad Aktaou
Najia Hajjaj-Hassouni


Introduction: The shoulder involvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is common. It can be subclinical and compromise the function of the upper limb. Musculoskeletal ultrasonography can detect subclinical abnormalities in rheumatoid shoulder. Our aim was to assess the prevalence of ultrasound abnormalities in rheumatoid shoulder, and investigate their association with different parameters. Methods: Cross-sectional study including 37 patients with RA, meeting the ACR/EULAR 2010 classification criteria, who were enrolled during a month. A questionnaire with sociodemographic, clinical and laboratory data was filled in for all patients. Ultrasound evaluation was performed by a single experienced operator. For each patient, both of shoulders were evaluated. Results: Mean age was 50 years with female predominance. Median disease duration of RA was 7.5 years. All patients had a seropositive form of RA. Mean clinical DAS28 was 5.1. Mean HAQ was 1.2. Thirty-one (83.8%) patients had involvement of the shoulder: unilateral in 9(24.3%) cases and bilateral in 22(59.5%) cases. Synovitis was found in 16(43.2%) patients with Doppler in 4 (10.8%) cases. Sub-acromial bursitis was noted in 14 (37.8%) cases and the effusion in 20 (54.1%). Synovitis was noted especially in elderly individuals (p: 0.01). The Doppler was visualized in elderly patients (p: 0.01), with a shorter disease duration (p: 0.02) and with a high SDAI (p: 0.006). US inflammatory findings in anterior recess of glenohumeral joint were linked to a higher synovial index (p: 0.03) and a higher level of rheumatoid factor (p: 0.01). Conclusion: 59.5% of our RA patients had bilateral involvement of the shoulder which was related to the disease activity. Ultrasound should be a systematic tool to look for the involvement of this joint in RA patients.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24

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