Regarding the persistence of subclinical synovitis, the concept of ultrasound remission has been proposed in addition to clinical remission. However, there have been no studies that explored the different time points of ultrasound remission to predict non-progressive structural damage. Given this, the aim of our study is to explore whether early ultrasound remission in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has predictive value for non-progressive structural damage in the subsequent 12 months. Sixty-one patients with RA were prospectively studied. Synovial hypertrophy, power Doppler (PD) signal, and bone erosions of bilateral wrists, metacarpophalangeal joints I–V, and proximal interphalangeal joints II–III were assessed by ultrasonography at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months. Ultrasound remission was defined as no PD signal. Clinical remission was defined as Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints <2.6. Ultrasonography-detected joint damage progression was defined as increase in bone erosion score of ≥1 in the subsequent 12 months. Baseline ultrasonographic factors were not significantly correlated with progressive ultrasonography-detected joint damage in patients with RA at 12 months (all p>0.05). Ultrasound remission at 3 and 6 months was significantly correlated with non-progressive ultrasonography-detected structural damage at 12 months (p=0.006 and p=0.004), with relatively low sensitivity and high specificity. Clinical remission at 3 months was significantly correlated with non-progression of ultrasonography-detected structural damage at 12 months (p=0.029), with relatively low sensitivity and moderate specificity. Ultrasound remission at 3 and 6 months has high specificity in predicting non-progressive structural damage in patients with RA at 12 months; however, the sensitivity is limited.
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
FL and WL contributed equally.
Contributors Conception and design: FFL, WL, JZ. Data analysis and interpretation: FL, ZC, WF. Drafting and revision of the article: FFL, WL, JZ, FL, ZC, WF. Final approval of the manuscript: FFL, WL, JZ, FL, ZC, WF. Critical review of the manuscript: FFL, WL, JZ, FL, ZC, WF. JZ acts as guarantor and responsible for the whole study.
Funding This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 82071930 and 81571684).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.