Background: Rheumatoid arthritis is a predominantly joint-based disease affecting approximately 1% of the world's population. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to be a highly sensitive technique for the detection of inflammatory soft tissue proliferation, bone oedema and early erosions, and since the implementation of MRI into the clinical practice, numerous cross-sectional papers concerning the MRI-detectable features of RA have been published. Hence; we assessed the effectiveness of MRI scans in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Materials & methods: 300 patients with RA who underwent clinical assessment with MRI. Synovitis was scored on a 0–3 scale at three different locations: radioulnar joint, radiocarpal joint and intercarpal–carpometacarpal joints (total maximum score 9). A score of 0 is normal, with no enhancement or enhancement up to the thickness of normal synovium, while the scores from 1 to 3 (mild, moderate, severe) refer to increments of one-third of the presumed maximum volume of enhancing tissue in the synovial compartment. Blood samples were collected at some time prior to the MRIs and the presence or absence of RF and serum levels of CRP and anti-CCP antibodies were determined. All the results were analyzed by SPSS software. Chi-square test was used for the assessment of level of significance. Results: Percentage of males in group 1 and group 2 was 28 and 24 percent respectively. Mean duration of disease in group 1 and group was 134 and 96 months respectively. Mean number of tender joints in group 1 and group 2 was 6.1 and 8.9 respectively. Significant results were obtained while comparing the mean duration of diseases and mean number of tender joints in group 1 and group 2 respectively. In patients with less than 3 years of diseases duration, in 8.5 percent of the patients in group 1, treatment was unchanged. Conclusion: MRI-detected inflammation contributes to the identification of unclassified arthritis patients who will develop RA. MRI-detected tenosynovitis was most helpful, and the accuracy was the highest in UA patients who presented with oligoarthritis. Furthermore, RA was unlikely to develop in UA patients with a normal MRI.
Key words: MRI, Rheumatoid arthritis, tenosynovitis.