• Novel muscle imaging in inflammatory rheumatic diseases — a focus on ultrasound shear wave elastography and quantitative MRI

      Farrow, Matthew; Biglands, J.; Alfuraih, A.M.; Wakefield, R.J.; Tan, A.L. (2020-08)
      In recent years, imaging has played an increasing role in the clinical management of patients with rheumatic diseases with respect to aiding diagnosis, guiding therapy and monitoring disease progression. These roles have been underpinned by research which has enhanced our understanding of disease pathogenesis and pathophysiology of rheumatology conditions, in addition to their key role in outcome measurement in clinical trials. However, compared to joints, imaging research of muscles is less established, despite the fact that muscle symptoms are very common and debilitating in many rheumatic diseases. Recently, it has been shown that even though patients with rheumatoid arthritis may achieve clinical remission, defined by asymptomatic joints, many remain affected by lingering constitutional systemic symptoms like fatigue, tiredness, weakness and myalgia, which may be attributed to changes in the muscles. Recent improvements in imaging technology, coupled with an increasing clinical interest, has started to ignite new interest in the area. This perspective discusses the rationale for using imaging, particularly ultrasound and MRI, for investigating muscle pathology involved in common inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The muscles associated with rheumatic diseases can be affected in many ways, including myositis—an inflammatory muscle condition, and myopathy secondary to medications, such as glucocorticoids. In addition to non-invasive visual assessment of muscles in these conditions, novel imaging techniques like shear wave elastography and quantitative MRI can provide further useful information regarding the physiological and biomechanical status of the muscle.