A randomized controlled trial of the cost-effectiveness of ultrasound-guided intraarticular injection of inflammatory arthritis

Wilmer L Sibbitt, Philip A Band, Natalia R Chavez-Chiang, Suzanne L Delea, Hillary E Norton, Arthur D Bankhurst
Journal of Rheumatology 2011, 38 (2): 252-63

OBJECTIVE: We studied whether sonographic needle guidance affected the outcomes of intraarticular (IA) injection for inflammatory arthritis.

METHODS: Joints with inflammatory arthritis (n = 244; 76% rheumatoid arthritis, 3% small joints, 51% intermediate, and 46% large) were randomized to injection by conventional palpation-guided anatomic injection (120 joints) or sonographic image-guided injection enhanced with a 1-handed reciprocating procedure device mechanical syringe (124 joints). A 1-needle, 2-syringe technique was used. After IA placement and synovial space dilation were confirmed by sonography, a syringe exchange was performed, and triamcinolone acetonide was injected with the second syringe through the indwelling IA needle. Baseline pain, procedural pain, pain at outcome (2 weeks and 6 months), responders, therapeutic duration, reinjection rates, total cost, and cost per responder were determined.

RESULTS: Relative to conventional palpation-guided methods, sonographic guidance for injection of inflammatory arthritis resulted in an 81% reduction in injection pain (p < 0.001), 35% reduction in pain scores at outcome (p < 0.02), 38% increase in the responder rate (p < 0.003), 34% reduction in the non-responder rate (p < 0.003), 32% increase in therapeutic duration (p = 0.01), 8% reduction ($7) in cost/patient/year, and a 33% ($64) reduction in cost/responder/year for a hospital outpatient (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Sonographic needle guidance improves the performance, clinical outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of IA injections for inflammatory arthritis. (Clinical Trial Identifier NCT00651625).


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