EULAR recommendations for the use of imaging in the diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis in clinical practice
A taskforce comprised of an expert group of 21 rheumatologists, radiologists and methodologists from 11 countries developed evidence-based recommendations on the use of imaging in the clinical management of both axial and peripheral spondyloarthritis (SpA). Twelve key questions on the role of imaging in SpA were generated using a process of discussion and consensus. Imaging modalities included conventional radiography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography, single photon emission CT, dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry and scintigraphy. Experts applied research evidence obtained from systematic literature reviews using MEDLINE and EMBASE to develop a set of 10 recommendations. The strength of recommendations (SOR) was assessed by taskforce members using a visual analogue scale. A total of 7550 references were identified in the search process, from which 158 studies were included in the systematic review. Ten recommendations were produced using research-based evidence and expert opinion encompassing the role of imaging in making a diagnosis of axial SpA or peripheral SpA, monitoring inflammation and damage, predicting outcome, response to treatment, and detecting spinal fractures and osteoporosis. The SOR for each recommendation was generally very high (range 8.9–9.5). These are the first recommendations which encompass the entire spectrum of SpA and evaluate the full role of all commonly used imaging modalities. We aimed to produce recommendations that are practical and valuable in daily practice for rheumatologists, radiologists and general practitioners.