, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 987-996
Date: 02 Jul 2008

MRI findings of juvenile psoriatic arthritis

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The aim of this study was to describe the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of juvenile psoriatic arthritis (JpsA) in children in order to facilitate early diagnosis and proper management.

Materials and methods

Two pediatric radiologists retrospectively reviewed in consensus a total of 37 abnormal MRI examinations from 31 pediatric patients (nine boys, 22 girls; age range 1–17 years; mean age 9.4 years) who had a definite diagnosis of JpsA and underwent MRI. Each MRI was evaluated for synovium abnormality (thickening and enhancement), joint effusion (small, moderate, and large), bone marrow abnormality (edema, enhancement, and location of abnormality), soft tissue abnormality (edema, enhancement, atrophy, and fatty infiltration), tendon abnormality (thickening, edema, tendon sheath fluid, and enhancement), and articular abnormality (joint space narrowing and erosion). The distribution of abnormal MRI findings among the six categories for the 37 MRI examinations was evaluated. The number of abnormal MRI findings for each MRI examination was assessed. Age at MRI examination and all six categories of abnormal MRI findings according to gender were evaluated.


There were a total 96 abnormal MRI findings noted on 37 abnormal MRI examinations from 31 pediatric patients. The 37 abnormal MRI examinations included MRI of the hand (n = 8), knee (n = 8), ankle (n = 5), pelvis (n = 5), temporomandibular joint (n = 4), wrist (n = 3), foot (n = 2), elbow (n = 1), and shoulder (n = 1). Twenty-eight diffuse synovial thickening and/or enhancement were the most common MRI abnormality (29.2%). Joint effusion comprised 22 abnormal MRI findings (22.9%). There were 16 abnormal MRI bone marrow edema and/or enhancement findings (16.7%), and in seven (7.3%) the edema involved non-articular sites. Soft tissue abnormality manifested as edema and/or enhancement constituted 14 abnormal MRI findings (14.5%). There were ten MRI abnormalities (10.4%) involving tendons. Articular abnormality seen as joint space narrowing and/or bone erosion comprised six abnormal MRI findings (6.2%). Most MRI examinations had more than one abnormal finding (84%). Age at which MRI examinations were performed was not significantly different between boys and girls. All six categories of abnormal MRI findings were not significantly different between boys and girls.


Children with JpsA typically present with more than one abnormal finding on their MRI studies. While synovial abnormality is the most common MR finding in children with JpsA, multi-focal bone marrow edema and enhancement at both articular and non-articular sites are also notable findings in children with JpsA. The rate of articular abnormality is much lower in children with JpsA in comparison to adults with psoriatic arthritis. Our findings suggest that MRI can play a useful role in the diagnosis and ongoing assessment of this uncommon, though important, pediatric rheumatologic disorder.