© 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Ultrasonography (US) has shown to be more sensitive than physical examination for diagnosis and assessment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is also a useful approach for accurate monitoring and intensive treatment adjustment. However, there is limited information concerning the impact of US on therapeutic decision-making in routine daily practice. A single-center cross-sectional study in routine daily practice was conducted to determine the percentage of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in which treatment decision was modified on the basis of results of musculoskeletal ultrasonography. All consecutive patients with RA visited for the control of their disease between September and November 2014 were included. Patients were visited by their attending rheumatologist, who made a therapeutic decision according to the results of physical examination and laboratory tests. Thereafter, a musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) was performed by an independent expert sonographer. According to US findings, a change in therapeutic decision was considered, and categorized as ‘negative’ (maintenance of the therapeutic attitude) or ‘positive’ (intensification or reduction of treatment). A total of 78 patients (83% women, mean age 63.3 years) were included. In 29 patients [32%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 26.5–48.9], a change in the therapeutic decision was made, which included intensification of treatment in 18 (62.1%) and reduction of treatment in 11 (37.9%). Change of treatment was more frequent in patients with intermediate disease activity (low and moderate) than in those in clinical remission or with high activity (41.4 vs. 25%), in men than in women (53.8 vs. 33.8%), and in the presence than in the absence of bone erosions (43.6 vs. 21.7%), although differences were not statistically significant. We conclude that in patients with RA, joint US is a relevant complementary tool for treatment decisions in daily practice, particularly in patients with intermediate disease activity.
- Antirheumatic agents
- Rheumatoid/drug therapy