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Radiological Imaging of the Lacrimal Gland in Sjogren's Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

PURPOSE: To critically appraise the evidence on the ability of the lacrimal gland ultrasonography (USG) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to differentiate between Sjogren's syndrome and non-Sjogren's syndrome/healthy controls.

METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis (based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines) of online literature search was performed using PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane databases. Cohort studies comparing the imaging features of the lacrimal glands of Sjogren's syndrome with a control group were included. Quantitative synthesis was performed using the RevMan (Version 5.4.1).

RESULTS: Six studies used USG as an imaging technique, and three used MRI for the lacrimal gland imaging. The lacrimal gland affected with Sjogren's syndrome shows glandular heterogeneity on USG and MRI. Heterogeneity on USG had 6.18 times higher odds of the lacrimal gland being involved with Sjogren's syndrome (95% CI, 3.31-11.55). Gland hyperechogenicity cannot reliably differentiate the glandular involvement in Sjogren's syndrome. There is insufficient data for analysis on the gland size, hypoechoic areas, fibrous bands, and increased lacrimal artery resistance in Sjogren's syndrome patients. Of the three MRI-based studies, reduced apparent diffusion coefficient and heterogeneity were the characteristics of Sjogren's syndrome. Clinical parameters such as dry eye symptomatology and Schirmer values had variable associations with USG or MRI parameters. Ultrasonography parameters were no different between dry eye versus no dry eye in Sjogren's syndrome patients, whereas small-sized glands had low Schirmer on MRI-based studies.

CONCLUSION: Glandular heterogeneity on USG is significantly associated with lacrimal gland involvement in Sjogren's syndrome patients. However, the role of radiology in predicting lacrimal gland involvement is unclear as the evidence is insufficient and heterogeneous.

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