Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Concise report
A diagnostic algorithm for persistence of very early inflammatory arthritis: the utility of power Doppler ultrasound when added to conventional assessment tools
  1. J E Freeston,
  2. R J Wakefield,
  3. P G Conaghan,
  4. E M A Hensor,
  5. S P Stewart,
  6. P Emery
  1. Academic Section of Musculoskeletal Disease, University of Leeds, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr P Emery, Academic Section of Musculoskeletal Disease, University of Leeds, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 4SA, UK; p.emery{at}


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the value of power Doppler ultrasound (PDUS) in combination with routine management in a cohort of patients with very early inflammatory arthritis (IA).

Methods: 50 patients with ⩽12 weeks of inflammatory symptoms with or without signs had clinical, laboratory and imaging assessments. Diagnosis was recorded at 12 months. Assuming a 15% pre-test probability of IA, post-test probabilities for various assessments were calculated and used to develop a diagnostic algorithm.

Results: All patients positive for rheumatoid factor (RF) and/or cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) developed persistent IA, so the added value of PDUS was assessed in the seronegative (RF and CCP negative) group. The probability of IA in a seronegative patient was 6%. The addition of clinical and radiographic features raised the probability of IA to 30% and, with certain ultrasound features, this rose to 94%.

Conclusions: In seronegative patients with early IA, combining PDUS with routine assessment can have a major impact on the certainty of diagnosis.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

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.


  • Funding JEF was supported by a Centocor Research Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent All patients gave their informed consent.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • Miscellaneous
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and European League Against Rheumatism