Could Ultrasound Of The Fifth MPJ Help Diagnose RA Earlier?
By Brian McCurdy, Senior Editor A recent study in Arthritis Care and Research suggests that targeted ultrasound imaging of the fifth metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ) may facilitate an earlier diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than radiographs. The study involved 30 patients, 17 of whom had RA and 13 of whom had undifferentiated arthritis (UA). Patients underwent lab tests, radiographs and ultrasound imaging of both fifth MPJs. Of the 30 patients, researchers noted 10 had ultrasound evidence of synovitis associated with a positive power Doppler signal. Seven had radiographic erosions of the fifth MPJ while ultrasound uncovered evidence of fifth MPJ erosions in 17 patients, according to the study. In addition, authors noted that a positive power Doppler signal was present in nine RA patients and in one UA patient. The study researchers note that the radiographic erosion in patients with RA is a late indicator of poor prognosis. However, the study authors note that earlier detection o