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Ultrasound Scans Can Predict Progression Of Hand OA

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Ultrasound scans can help predict the progression of hand osteoarthritis, according to a Norwegian study.

Researchers at Oslo´s Diakonhjemmet Hospital found that ultrasound imaging was a reliable method of detecting which patients with hand OA were likely to see their condition worsen.

The study involved 78 participants who had ultrasound examinations as well as conventional x-ray and clinical examinations at baseline and at five-year follow-up. Patients were recruited from the rheumatology outpatient clinic at Diakonhjemmet Hospital, with investigators using data from 2008 to 2009 as their baseline findings and data collected in 2013 for the follow-up comparison, MedPageToday reported.

The team wanted to find out whether ultrasound-detected inflammation – identified though the presence of gray-scale (GS) synovitis, and the use of power Doppler (PD) scanning techniques – predicted radiographic progression over time. They found that both GS synovitis and PD signals were significantly associated with radiographic progression after five years.

In a paper published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the researchers said their findings support the use of ultrasound as a tool to detect patients with hand OA who are likely to progress.

Commenting on the study, a spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said that the charity´s own research “has shown that people who have inflammation, as shown on ultrasound, may develop more severe and progressive osteoarthritis and experience greater pain and disability.”

She added: “This study confirms the usefulness of this imaging technique in measuring progression of osteoarthritis affecting the hand.”