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FRI0693 Synovial changes detected by ultrasonography and their association with osteoarthritis-related knee pain: a 1-year prospective cohort study
  1. A Sarmanova1,2,
  2. M Hall2,3,
  3. GS Fernandes1,4,
  4. AM Valdes1,2,
  5. DA Walsh1,2,
  6. M Doherty1,2,
  7. W Zhang1,2
  1. 1Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, The University of Nottingham
  2. 2Pain Centre, Arthritis Research UK
  3. 3School of Health Sciences, The University of Nottingham
  4. 4Centre for Sports, Exercise and Osteoarthritis, Arthritis Research UK, Nottingham, United Kingdom


Background Recently an important role for synovial pathology in the initiation and progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA) has been emphasised. Our previous cross-sectional study showed that synovial changes on US associated with knee pain (KP), but the association was confounded by radiographic severity [1]

Objectives To examine whether these synovial changes associate with KP changes over 1 year.

Methods 220 participants with early KP (<3yrs duration) identified from the Knee Pain and Related Health in the Community (KPIC, n=9514) survey in Nottingham, UK formed the cohort for this study. All participants had bilateral US and radiographic examination at baseline, and US was repeated after 1 year. KP was defined as pain in or around the knee on most days for at least a month, and KP severity was measured using a numerical rating scale (NRS 0–10). Change in KP severity was defined according to a Patient Global Impression of Change. Synovial changes (effusion, hypertrophy and Power Doppler (PD) signal) were measured by two observers (inter-observer concordance correlation was 0.8 (0.6 to 0.9) for effusion and 0.7 (0.5 to 0.9) for synovial hypertrophy). Standardised radiographs (semi-flexed weight-bearing and flexed skyline views) were scored using the Nottingham Line Drawing Atlas (NLDA). Radiographic OA was defined as definite joint space narrowing (grade 2) plus definite osteophyte (grade 2) in any compartment. An absolute change in effusion/synovial thickness/pain scores was calculated by subtracting the baseline measure from the follow-up measure within individuals. A correlation analysis was used to examine the association between changes in pain and changes in US values. Potential baseline predictors for KP worsening were examined using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results Of 220 participants in this cohort, 165 (75%) had US measurements at baseline and follow-up (mean age 61yrs; 61% women; 24% ROA). The mean NRS score decreased from 4.44 to 3.01 mm. The mean depth of the effusion and synovial hypertrophy changed from 4.01 mm to 5.37 mm, and from 1.82 to 2.45 mm, respectively. There was no correlation between changes in pain on NRS and changes in US-detected synovial change (Figure 1).

At 1 year follow-up, 58% reported that their KP had improved from baseline, 16% reported worsening, and 27% reported no change in KP. After adjustment for age, gender and BMI baseline US features did not predict worsening pain, whereas ROA did (OR=4.06 95% CI 1.55 to 10.61).

Conclusions This cohort study showed that US-detected knee “synovitis” was not a predictor of change in OA symptoms, whereas baseline radiographic OA severity was. It suggests that synovial changes detected by US might reflect aspects of OA pathology discrete from mechanisms driving OA pain change.


  1. Sarmanova A, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016; 68 (suppl 10).


Acknowledgements Arthritis Research UK (Grant Refs: 20777 and 20194) and Bolashak PhD Studentship.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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