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Attitudes of United Kingdom rheumatologists to musculoskeletal ultrasound practice and training


Objectives: This study was performed to describe what clinical rheumatologists currently use musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) for, how they are currently training and is the first study to survey rheumatologists to determine their preferences for MSUS training implementation.

Methods: 250 questionnaires were distributed at the British Society of Rheumatology Annual General Meeting (BSR AGM), 2005.

Results: 126 (50%) of questionnaires were completed by UK rheumatologists and were analysed. 117 (93%) of the respondents use MSUS imaging for patient management, with 41 (33%) indicating they perform MSUS themselves. Only two (2%) performed MSUS for >5 years. Rheumatologists use MSUS to image all peripheral joints—particularly the hands and feet—to assess joint and soft tissue inflammation and to guide joint injections. Lack of training in MSUS was the principal reason for not performing MSUS. Respondents expressed a preference for future training to be via a programme of regular sessions, with training delivered by either consultant radiologists or rheumatologists. Mentoring was the educational tool and assessment method of choice.

Conclusions: The majority of respondents use MSUS in the management of their patients, with a third performing MSUS themselves. The report indicates rheumatologists’ preferences on how training should be delivered in the future.

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