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      Ultrasound in juvenile idiopathic arthritis

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          In the recent years, musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) has been regarded as especially promising in the assessment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), as a reliable method to precisely document and monitor the synovial inflammation process.

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          MSUS is particularly suited for examination of joints in children due to several advantages over other imaging modalities. Some challenges should be considered for correct interpretation of MSUS findings in children, due to the peculiar features of the growing skeleton. MSUS in JIA is considered particularly useful for its ability to detect subclinical synovitis, to improve the classification of patients in JIA subtypes, for the definition of remission, as guidance to intraarticular corticosteroid injections and for capturing early articular damage. Current evidence and applications of MSUS in JIA are documented by several authors. Recent advances and insights into further investigations on MSUS in healthy children and in JIA patients are presented and discussed in the present review.


          MSUS shows great promise in the assessment and management of children with JIA. Nonetheless, anatomical knowledge of sonographic changes over time, underlying immunopathophysiology, standardization and validation of MSUS in healthy children and in patients with JIA are still under investigation. Further research and educational efforts are required for expanding this imaging modality to more clinicians in their daily practice.

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          Most cited references 59

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          Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

          Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a broad term that describes a clinically heterogeneous group of arthritides of unknown cause, which begin before 16 years of age. This term encompasses several disease categories, each of which has distinct methods of presentation, clinical signs, and symptoms, and, in some cases, genetic background. The cause of disease is still poorly understood but seems to be related to both genetic and environmental factors, which result in the heterogeneity of the illness. Although none of the available drugs has a curative potential, prognosis has greatly improved as a result of substantial progresses in disease management. The most important new development has been the introduction of drugs such as anticytokine agents, which constitute a valuable treatment option for patients who are resistant to conventional antirheumatic agents. Further insights into the disease pathogenesis and treatment will be provided by the continuous advances in understanding of the mechanisms connected to the immune response and inflammatory process, and by the development of new drugs that are able to inhibit selectively single molecules or pathways.
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            Musculoskeletal ultrasound including definitions for ultrasonographic pathology.

            Ultrasound (US) has great potential as an outcome in rheumatoid arthritis trials for detecting bone erosions, synovitis, tendon disease, and enthesopathy. It has a number of distinct advantages over magnetic resonance imaging, including good patient tolerability and ability to scan multiple joints in a short period of time. However, there are scarce data regarding its validity, reproducibility, and responsiveness to change, making interpretation and comparison of studies difficult. In particular, there are limited data describing standardized scanning methodology and standardized definitions of US pathologies. This article presents the first report from the OMERACT ultrasound special interest group, which has compared US against the criteria of the OMERACT filter. Also proposed for the first time are consensus US definitions for common pathological lesions seen in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
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              Guidelines for musculoskeletal ultrasound in rheumatology.


                Author and article information

                +39 06 6859 4393 , +39 06 6859 4394 ,
                Pediatr Rheumatol Online J
                Pediatr Rheumatol Online J
                Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                27 May 2016
                27 May 2016
                : 14
                Pediatric Rheumatology Unit, IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Piazza Sant’Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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