La radiologia medica

, Volume 119, Issue 6, pp 422–431 | Cite as

MR and CEUS monitoring of patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis treated with biological agents: a preliminary study

  • Roberto Stramare
  • Alessandro CoranEmail author
  • Alex Faccinetto
  • Giulia Costantini
  • Livio Bernardi
  • Costantino Botsios
  • Egle Perissinotto
  • Enrico Grisan
  • Valeria Beltrame
  • Bernd Raffeiner
Magnetic Resonance



This study was done to propose a study protocol for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with biological agents, by evaluating the contribution of contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (CE-MR) imaging, a software programme that calculates the volume of synovitis on CE-MR images, and contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS).

Materials and methods

Sixteen patients with RA receiving treatment with biologics were analysed. The patients underwent clinical examination, CE-MR imaging and CEUS on the same day. Images were postprocessed with the software and evaluated independently by three physicians in terms of RAMRIS (Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score), SAMIS (Simplified Rheumatoid Arthritis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score) and CEUS grade. The techniques were correlated statistically.


The RAMRIS and SAMIS scores were found to correlate statistically. CE-MR imaging correlated with the clinical data (p < 0.05), whereas CEUS did not. The data provided by the software did not correlate statistically with the other techniques. The most painful joint was consistently found to be the joint with most synovitis.


CE-MR imaging may be used prior to treatment and for long-term follow-up. CEUS might be useful in the short-term follow-up, as it seems to provide an indication of the presence or absence of disease, though not of its severity. The software is a very useful tool that can supplement, but not replace, the other techniques.


Rheumatoid arthritis MR CEUS US 


Conflict of interest

Roberto Stramare, Alessandro Coran, Alex Faccinetto, Giulia Costantini, Livio Bernardi, Costantino Botsios, Egle Perissinotto, Enrico Grisan, Valeria Beltrame and Bernd Raffeiner declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Medical Radiology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Stramare
    • 1
  • Alessandro Coran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alex Faccinetto
    • 1
  • Giulia Costantini
    • 1
  • Livio Bernardi
    • 2
  • Costantino Botsios
    • 2
  • Egle Perissinotto
    • 3
  • Enrico Grisan
    • 4
  • Valeria Beltrame
    • 1
  • Bernd Raffeiner
    • 5
  1. 1.Section of Radiology, Department of MedicineUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Rheumatology Unit, Department of MedicineUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Information EngineeringUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  5. 5.Rheumatology Unit, Department of MedicineGeneral Hospital of BolzanoBolzanoItaly

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