Thermography effective imaging method for rheumatoid arthritis: Study
Singapore: When the ultrasound-detected joint inflammation is present, joints in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have significantly higher temperature reading, according to a recent study. Swollen tender/non-tender joints versus non-swollen non-tender joints, showed a greater degree of ultrasound-detected joint inflammation, although their temperature readings were not significantly higher.
The results, published in the journal Clinical Radiology, indicate that thermal imaging or thermography is safe, non-invasive, and has high feasibility for use for RA patients.
Y.K. Tan, Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, and colleagues compared thermography with ultrasonography and clinical joint assessment in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
For the purpose, the researches sequentially performedThermography and ultrasonography (power Doppler (PD) and grey-scale (GS) joint inflammation scored semi-quantitatively 0–3) on both hands of 37 RA patients.
Using generalised estimating equations analysis, (a) thermographic parameters (TP) were compared between joints based on their PD and GS joint inflammation positivity/negativity status, while (b) TP and ultrasound-detected joint inflammation were compared between joints categorised by their clinical swelling/tenderness status.
Key findings of the study include:
- Comparing PD positive versus negative joints, the differences in mean values (95% CI) for TP including maximum (T max), minimum (T min), average (T avg), and T max minus T min (T max–min) temperatures (in °C) were 1.37, 0.91, 1.16, and 0.46, respectively.
- Comparing GS positive versus negative joints, the corresponding results for thermography were 1.09, 0.66, 0.86, and 0.45, respectively.
- The differences in mean values (95% CI) for ultrasound scores, but not for TP, were statistically significant for (a) swollen tender joints (PD: 0.67, GS: 0.86) and (b) swollen non-tender joints (PD: 0.46, GS: 0.83) when compared to non-swollen non-tender joints.
The study, "Thermography in rheumatoid arthritis: a comparison with ultrasonography and clinical joint assessment," is published in the journal Clinical Radiology.