Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows the direct visualization of many bone and soft tissue changes in rheumatoid arthritis. Synovitis volume, bone marrow oedema and bone erosions are suitable for serial measurement. The outcome measures in rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials (OMERACT) rheumatoid arthritis magnetic resonance imaging (RAMRIS) system is designed to allow straightforward, reproducible scoring of all these features. Alternatively, synovial volumes may be directly and quickly measured using semi-automated techniques. There is the potential for similar systems for measuring erosions. Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI depends on the rate of enhancement of the synovium after intravenous contrast agent. Measurements depend on the underlying physiology of the inflamed synovium, in particular the vascularity and capillary permeability which are expected to closely mirror inflammatory activity in the joint. Measurements from MRI have been shown to correlate with clinical, laboratory, imaging and histological measures of inflammation, predict erosive progression and respond rapidly to various types of treatment. They are, therefore, expected to be good measures of disease activity, progression and response to therapy. © The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved.
- Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI
- Image analysis
- Rheumatoid arthritis