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Joint Bone Spine
Volume 73, n° 5
pages 518-522 (octobre 2006)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jbspin.2006.01.010
Received : 29 August 2005 ;  accepted : 18 January 2006
Three-dimensional Doppler sonographic vascular imaging in regions with increased MR enhancement in inflamed wrists of patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Johannes Strunk a, , Pascal Klingenberger a, Katinka Strube a, Georg Bachmann b, Ulf Müller-Ladner a, Alexander Kluge b
a Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Kerckhoff-Clinic, University of Giessen, Benekestrasse 2-8, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany 
b Department of Radiology, Kerckhoff-Clinic, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany 

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 6032 996 2109; fax: +49 6032 996 2184.

To compare three-dimensional (3D) power Doppler ultrasonography (PDUS) with contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in their capability to visualize synovial vascularity in inflamed wrists of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


Nine patients with RA showing clinically active arthritis of the wrist as determined by tenderness and swelling were examined by contrast enhanced MRI and 3D PDUS. Vascularity close to and inside the joint capsule was visualized by conventional power Doppler mode. In a region with high Doppler signal intensity (=region of interest/ROI) a 3D blood vessel tree was obtained by a free-hand sweep. 3D images were evaluated with regard to the number of blood vessels in the intra- and peri-articular region. MRI examinations were performed using a 1.5 T Scanner. In MRI, time resolved coronal contrast enhanced T1-weighted sequences with fat suppression were acquired during an 8 min period to assess tissue enhancement. Relative enhancement was calculated and compared to 3D PDUS findings.


A 3D vascular tree consisting of peri- and intra-articular blood vessels could be demonstrated in the same anatomical ROI in which an increased gadolinium enhancement was measured by MRI in all examined RA patients. The number of penetrating vessels into the joint capsule, the number of intra-articular vessels and a semiquantitative estimation of the strength of blood flow were used to generate a 3D score for the intensity of synovial vascularity.


When compared with clinical symptoms and the gold standard dynamic MRI, 3D PDUS is a reliable imaging technique for assessing synovial vascularity in inflamed wrists of RA patients.

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Keywords : Power Doppler ultrasonography, Three-dimensional ultrasound, Rheumatoid arthritis, Contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

© 2006  Elsevier SAS. All Rights Reserved.