Background Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare systemic inflammatory disorder and might often be refractory. Therefore, the discover of imaging modality would be required on diagnosis and treatment of RP.
Objectives To assess the clinical implications of ultrasonography (US) in monitoring disease activity of relapsing polychondritis (RP).
Methods Three cases of a 78-year-old man with RP, a 74-year-old woman with RP associated with optic perineuritis and a 42-year-old woman with RP associated with uveitis were assessed by US before and after treatments.
Results Ultrasonography (US) of the auricle before treatment showed low-echoic swollen auricular cartilage with increased power Doppler signals (PDS) in all cases. US findings corresponded to the above-mentioned biopsy findings. After treatment with prednisolone combined with methotrexate, the auricular swelling completely resolved in all cases. Then, US findings also showed dramatic reductions in swelling of cartilage with the decrease in PDS.
Conclusions US imaging can be used to differentiate between inflammation, vascular lesions, and tumors in the ear pinna. RP could be differentiated from the damage of repeated trauma (i.e. rugby) with producing subperichondrial serous effusion. As in the present cases, US imaging of the external ear and auricular cartilage in RP also facilitates evaluation of auricular lesions and monitoring of disease activity, especially when we consider the treatment response and the timing of drug tapering.
Disclosure of Interest None declared