Lupus | 2019
Ultrasound in the assessment of musculoskeletal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus: state of the art and perspectives
Musculoskeletal manifestations are extremely common in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Transient and migratory arthralgia is frequently reported even without clinical signs of joint or tendon inflammation. In less than 15% of patients, joints may be more severely affected by deforming (Jaccoud s arthropathy) and/or erosive arthropathy (Rhupus syndrome). In recent years, ultrasound has emerged as a promising imaging technique for the assessment of musculoskeletal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus, having demonstrated the ability to detect inflammation and structural damage both at articular and periarticular level. Recent ultrasound studies have also revealed new insights into musculoskeletal involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, some of them questioning the traditional concepts of systemic lupus erythematosus arthropathy, with potential clinical, prognostic and therapeutic implications. In daily clinical practice, the use of ultrasound in the assessment of joint and tendon involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus is still limited. Several methodological issues encountered in ultrasound studies evaluating musculoskeletal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus patients need to be addressed in order to improve both the reliability and clinical usefulness of ultrasound findings. This paper reviews ultrasound studies assessing musculoskeletal involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, highlighting certainty, limits, potential applications and future perspectives of ultrasound use in systemic lupus erythematosus patients.