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01.06.2011 | Research article | Ausgabe 3/2011 Open Access

Arthritis Research & Therapy 3/2011

The usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging of the hand and wrist in very early rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Research & Therapy > Ausgabe 3/2011
Paraskevi E Kosta, Paraskevi V Voulgari, Anastasia K Zikou, Alexandros A Drosos, Maria I Argyropoulou
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​ar3355) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

PEK helped to establish imaging techniques, analyze data, interpret data, and draft the manuscript. AKZ perform the examinations and analyzed data. MIA reviewed the interpreted data and critically reviewed the manuscript. PVV selected the patients and performed the musculoskeletal examination. AAD designed the study and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to study the hand and wrist in very early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the results were compared with early and established disease.


Fifty-seven patients fulfilling the new American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA, 26 with very early RA (VERA), 18 with early RA (ERA), and 13 with established RA (ESTRA), (disease duration < 3 months, < 12 months, and > 12 months, respectively) were enrolled in the study. MRI of the dominant hand and wrist was performed by using fat-suppressed T2-weighted and plain and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted sequences. Evaluation of bone marrow edema, synovitis, and bone erosions was performed with the OMERACT RA MRI scoring system.


Edema, erosions, and synovitis were present in VERA, and the prevalence was 100%, 96.15%, and 92.3%, respectively. Significant differences in edema and erosions were found between VERA and ESTRA (P < 0.05). No significant difference was found in synovitis.


Edema, erosions, and synovitis are findings of very early RA. MRI, by detecting these lesions, may play an important role in the management of these patients.
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