Objectives To know the musculoskeletal ultrasound (MUS) use and skills among young rheumatologists in Europe, the availability of ultrasound facility in his workplace and the applications of this technique in daily clinical practice.
Methods All rheumatologist members of EMEUNET (EMerging EULar NETwork), a network of young rheumatologists in Europe, were email solicited to participate in this online survey. The questionnaire consists of 23 questions regarding demographic data, availability of an ultrasound facility in the workplace, MUS clinical use, and specific training in MUS. Simple descriptive statistics were calculated.
Results 223 rheumatologists of 48 countries responded the survey. 55% were woman, and average age was 33 years (range 25-50). 43% were still rheumatology trainees and 73,5% work in a teaching hospital, most of them in the public health systems (65,5%). Most of the responders had an MUS facility during his fellowship (77,6%) and in his current workplace (82,5%). 47% of respondents perform more than 5 MUS scans in one week, while 30,5% perform less than 5 scans per week and 22,5% usually do not perform any scan in one week. Only 37% admit to have a specific time scheduled in their agenda to perform MUS. This technique was used regularly to confirm/exclude the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (81,6%), soft tissue pathology (67,7%), and spondyloarthritis (52,9%), but only few of the respondents use it to diagnose vasculitis, like temporal arteritis (16,4%). Regarding activity assessment, 76,7% regularly use MUS to monitor rheumatoid arthritis, but only 35% use it to monitor spondyloarthritis. 64,6% use MUS to perform sonographic-guided musculoskeletal interventional procedures. The anatomical regions most frequently explored are listed in table 1, and the most complicated regions to scan are listed in table 2. 64,1% of the respondents thought that their use of MUS in clinical practice was less than desirable, due a lack of training (51,4%) or a lack of time (26%). The vast majority of surveyed (93,3%) had received some MUS training but 67,1% thought that their skills in MUS were not adequate for their needs.
Conclusions 1. The availability of ultrasound equipment in rheumatology clinics is high. 2. Almos half of respondents perform more than 5 MUS scans per week, and 37% have a specific time scheduled in their work agendas. 3. Use MUS to confirm the diagnosis and to assess activity of RA was regularly done by most of the surveyed.
Acknowledgements This study was supported by a grant from Asociaciόn para la Investigaciόn en Reumatología Marina Baixa (AIRE-MB). With the endorsement of EMEUNET (Emerging EULAR NETwork) and with the kind help of EMEUNET working group.
Disclosure of Interest None declared