Comparison of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging for diagnosis and follow-up of joint lesions in patients with haemophilia

C Sierra Aisa, J F Lucía Cuesta, A Rubio Martínez, N Fernández Mosteirín, A Iborra Muñoz, M Abío Calvete, M Guillén Gómez, A Moretó Quintana, D Rubio Félix
Haemophilia: the Official Journal of the World Federation of Hemophilia 2014, 20 (1): e51-7
Haematomas and recurrent haemarthroses are a common problem in haemophilia patients from early age. Early diagnosis is critical in preventing haemophilic arthritis, and recent years have seen excellent advances in musculoskeletal ultrasound as a diagnostic tool in soft tissue lesions. In this study, we compared the results of ultrasound imaging for the diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries in haemophilia patients with scores obtained using magnetic resonance (MRI) scans. A total of 61 haemophilia patients aged 4-82 years were included in this study. Both knees and ankles of each patient were assessed using the Gilbert (clinical assessment) and Pettersson scores (X-ray assessment). Patients with severe haemophilia (n = 30) were examined using ultrasound and MRI (Denver scoring system). Results obtained with ultrasound and MRI in severe patients were correlated using the Pearson test. In patients with severe haemophilia, normal joints were similarly assessed with MRI and ultrasound (κ = 1.000). By component of joint assessment, haemarthrosis was similarly diagnosed with both techniques in all joints (κ = 1.000). A good positive correlation was found between these techniques in detecting and locating synovial hyperplasia (κ = 0.839-1.000, knees and ankles respectively), and erosion of margins (κ = 0.850-1.000). The presence of bone cysts or cartilage loss was better detected with MRI (κ = 0.643-0.552 for knees and ankles, and κ = 0.643-0.462 respectively). Ultrasound is useful in detecting joint bleeds, synovial hyperplasia and joint erosions, with results comparable to those of MRI. A quick and affordable technique, ultrasound imaging may be useful for monitoring joint bleeds and structure normalization and maintenance in routine practice.

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