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Early diagnosis and therapeutic intervention is critical to the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Conventional radiography offers only late signs of preceding disease activity and the resulting cartilage and bone destruction. MRI is considered the new gold standard for the detection of joint inflammation and bone erosions but is invasive, costly and has limited availability. Ultrasonography compares well with MRI although it is generally inferior. However, ultrasonography is relatively inexpensive, quick to perform and readily accessible. By sensitively detecting joint inflammation and bone erosions ultrasonography has utility in assessing RA disease severity, diagnosing RA and differentiating it from other arthritides, monitoring disease progression and response to treatment. We anticipate that it will be used more extensively to test new treatments in early clinical studies, which have small patient cohorts over short periods of time. © 2009 Future Medicine Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology

Publication Date





583 - 595