Sacroiliac pain and CT-guided steroid injection treatment: high-grade arthritis has an adverse effect on outcomes in long-term follow-up

B Savran Sahin, E Aktas, B Haberal, A Harman, A Canan Yazici, H Kaygusuz, B K Aribas
European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 2015, 19 (15): 2804-11

OBJECTIVE: The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is one of the major sources of low back pain that can lead to severe morbidity. Possible SIJ pain requires a thorough evaluation and treatment option. The purpose of this study was to analyze the possible relationships between computed tomography (CT) grading of SIJ arthritis and the effectiveness of intraarticular steroid injection treatment under CT guidance.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 61 patients with SIJ pain who were treated with CT guided intraarticular steroid injection were retrospectively reviewed. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain control were recorded for short-term (day after injection, first week, third week) and long-term (sixth months and final control) follow-up times. SIJ arthritis was graded using CT images according to the New York criteria. Patients were assigned into low-grade (0, 1 and 2) and high-grade (3 and 4) groups. The relationship between arthritis grades and VAS scores in short and long-term follow-ups were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS: Mean age and follow-up was 54.8 years (range: 41-68 years) and 27.8 months (range: 24-36 months), respectively. In 40 patients there was low-grade arthritis, while 21 patients were characterized on having high-grade sacroiliac arthritis detected during the radiological evaluation. There was no statistically significant difference between low and high-grade arthritis in regard to short-term VAS scores. On contrary, for long-term VAS scores, there was significant difference between low- and high-grade arthritis.

CONCLUSIONS: Steroid injection treatment for SIJ pain is not effective on a long-term basis for patients with high-grade arthritis, and although they have had decreased VAS scores in the short-term, after 2 years of follow-up, their VAS scores significantly increased leading to symptomatic sacroiliac joint pain.

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