RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Magnetic resonance imaging in teenagers and young adults with limited haemophilic arthropathy: baseline results from a prospective study.

The clinical relevance of subtle changes on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for evaluating haemophilia treatment is unknown. To determine the relationship of findings on MRI with joint function and bleeding in joints with apparently very mild arthropathy, a prospective study was performed. Knees and ankles of 26 patients, 13-26 years, were scanned. Two blinded radiologists scored the MRI (IPSG consensus score) and the radiography [Pettersson score (PS)]. Clinical function (HJHS) was scored by one physiotherapist. Life-time number of bleeds was collected from patient files. Of 104 joints scanned, three were excluded because of previous arthrodesis or trauma. Remaining 101 MRI scores correlated weakly with clinical function (r = 0.27, P = 0.01) and less with lifetime number of bleeds (r = 0.16, P = 0.14). MRI scores were 0 in 58 joints, including 27 with major bleeds. In three joints of patients playing intensive sports MRI showed minor changes (MRI score = 1) in the absence of bleeds. Agreement was reasonable between PS and MRI score (r = 0.41, P < 0.01). In 30% of joints, MRI detected abnormalities in soft-tissue and cartilage, while PS was 0 points. No evidence of occult haemorrhages was found. Instead, we found no abnormalities on MRI in 43 joints with a history of repeated joint bleeding. Haemosiderin seemed associated with the time between assessment and last bleed; joints that had suffered a bleed long before MRI had hardly haemosiderin, while those with a recent bleed showed haemosiderin, suggesting joint damage may be reversible. Abnormalities detected by MRI, but not by PS were minor and their clinical implications are not yet clear.

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