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Power Doppler sonography monitoring of synovial perfusion at the wrist joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with adalimumab
  1. E Filippucci1,
  2. A Iagnocco2,
  3. F Salaffi1,
  4. A Cerioni1,
  5. G Valesini2,
  6. W Grassi1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
  2. 2Department of Medical Therapy, Rheumatology Unit, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
    W Grassi
    Cattedra di Reumatologia, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ospedale A Murri, Via dei Colli, 52, 60035 Jesi, Ancona, Italy; walter.grassi{at}


Objective: To use power Doppler sonography (PDS) to evaluate changes in synovial perfusion induced by adalimumab in the wrist joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: 48 wrists of 24 patients (18 women and 6 men) were examined. Despite prior treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, including methotrexate, patients with clinically active rheumatoid arthritis were recruited in two rheumatological centres to receive 40 mg adalimumab subcutaneously every other week. Clinical, laboratory and PDS assessments were carried out at 0, 2, 6 and 12 weeks. Clinical and laboratory measurements of disease activity included physician’s global assessment of disease activity, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and serum levels of C reactive protein. The Disease Activity Score for 28 joints (DAS28) was calculated. PDS signal was scored from 0 to 3 according to the overall expression of PDS findings at the wrists.

Results: A significant reduction in both clinical (p<0.001) and PDS findings (p<0.001) was found at all follow-up examinations. A tendency to positive correlation (Spearman’s r = 0.382; p = 0.067) was shown between reduction in PDS score and improvement in DAS28 at week 2 examination.

Conclusion: PDS detected a rapid and significant reduction in synovial perfusion at the wrist joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving adalimumab. Ongoing follow-up will provide further information regarding the persistence of considerable reduction in PDS signal score and its correlation with DAS28.

  • CRP, C reactive protein
  • DAS28, Disease Activity Score for 28 joints
  • DMARD, disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
  • ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • PDS, power Doppler sonography

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  • Published Online First 27 February 2006

  • Funding: This study was supported by the Università Politecnica delle Marche grant number 1104 (29 March 2001).

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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