1: Rheumatology (Oxford) 2000 Mar;39(3):288-92

Radiographic joint space in rheumatoid glenohumeral joints. A 15-year prospective follow-up study in 74 patients.

Lehtinen JT, Lehto MU, Kaarela K, Kautiainen HJ, Belt EA, Kauppi MJ

Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, FIN-18120 Heinola, Finland.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate radiographically the glenohumeral (GH) joint space in patients with long-term rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: A cohort of 74 patients with RA were followed prospectively for 15 yr. At the end point, 148 shoulders were radiographed using a standard method. The GH joint space was examined from the radiographs using a method developed previously for population studies; the joint space was measured at three different sites and the average of the three measurements, the integral space, was calculated. Destruction of the GH joints was assessed with the Larsen method on a scale of 0-5 and compared with the joint space measurements. RESULTS: The mean GH joint space in RA patients was 3. 1 (S.D. 3.3), range -17.3 to 5.7 mm; 2.7 mm (S.D. 4.5) in men and 3. 2 mm (S.D. 2.8) in women. The mean of the affected joints (Larsen grades 2-5), 1.7 mm (S.D. 4.5), was notably narrower than the mean 4. 4 mm (S.D. 0.6) of the non-affected (Larsen grades 0-1) joints. Pathological GH joint space, less than 2 mm, was found in five (15%) of 36 joints in men and in 14 (13%) of 112 joints in women. All the joints graded as Larsen 4 and 5 (n = 17) fulfilled this pathological criterion. Joint space narrowing was associated [r = - 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.56 to -0.75] with increasing destruction (Larsen grading) of the joint. The narrowing was significant between non- (Larsen 0, 1), moderately (Larsen 2, 3) and severely (Larsen 4, 5) affected joints (P < 0.001). However, a remarkable step in this process occurred between Larsen grades 3 and 4 when the mean joint space diminished from 3.1 to 0.3 mm. CONCLUSIONS: Joint space narrowing is a frequent consequence of GH joint rheumatoid affection. However, joint space narrowing is a late phenomenon occurring not until after marked erosive destruction, which should be noted when using the Larsen method for GH joints.

2: Ann Rheum Dis 2000 Feb;59(2):158-60

Relation of glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joint destruction in rheumatoid shoulder. A 15 year follow up study.

Lehtinen JT, Kaarela K, Belt EA, Kautiainen HJ, Kauppi MJ, Lehto MU

Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, Heinola, Finland.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the relation of glenohumeral (GH) and acromioclavicular (AC) joint involvement in a cohort of 74 patients with seropositive and erosive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) followed up prospectively. METHODS: At the 15 year follow up radiographs of 148 shoulders were evaluated, and the grade of destruction of GH and AC joints were assessed by the Larsen method. One GH joint arthroplasty had been performed after 13 years of the disease onset and the preoperative radiograph was evaluated. RESULTS: Erosive involvement (Larsen grade >/= 2) was observed in 96 of 148 (65%) of the shoulders. Both GH and AC joints were affected in 62 of 148 (42%) shoulders. GH joint alone was involved in nine (6%) shoulders and only AC joint was affected in 25 (17%) shoulders. AC joint destruction correlated with the GH joint destruction, r=0.74 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.65 to 0.80 ). CONCLUSION: In RA AC joint is affected more often than the GH joint, but in half of the patients both joints are involved. This should be remembered when treating painful rheumatoid shoulder.

3: J Rheumatol 2000 Jan;27(1):177-82

Ankylosing spondylitis and the shoulder: commonly involved but infrequently disabling.

Will R, Kennedy G, Elswood J, Edmunds L, Wachjudi R, Evison G, Calin A

The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath, UK.

OBJECTIVE: To undertake 2 independent studies of shoulder involvement in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and assess the frequency of shoulder pain, stiffness, and loss of movement and function. To evaluate and correlate shoulder symptoms, function, range of movement, and radiology. METHODS: A cross sectional design was used in both studies. In Study A, a self-administered questionnaire was sent to members of the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society of the UK and patients attending the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. In Study B, a clinical assessment of 88 patients with AS was undertaken that included a radiological assessment of 26 consecutive patients. RESULTS: In Study A, 15.2% and 13.8% of subjects had severe/very severe shoulder pain or stiffness, respectively. In Study B the corresponding findings were 9.6% and 17.6%. Patient reported disability associated with shoulder involvement was uncommon. Study A revealed that patients with severe/very severe shoulder pain were more likely to have significant hip and knee involvement. Significant shoulder involvement appears to be as common as involvement of the hip joint. In Study B radiological changes were common, being present in 31% of patients, but were often minor. There was a significant correlation between the sum of the stiffness, abduction, and flexion scores for both shoulders and the total radiological score (r = 0.87; p<0.001). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that shoulder symptoms and loss of shoulder mobility are common in patients with AS, and correlate with higher pain scores and influence of AS on their lives as assessed by the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale, but are rarely disabling. Involvement of the shoulder joint in AS correlates with involvement of other peripheral joints as well as the extent of radiographic change on shoulder radiographs.

4: J Rheumatol 1999 Mar;26(3):668-73

Shoulder involvement in rheumatic diseases. Sonographic findings.

Coari G, Paoletti F, Iagnocco A

Department of Rheumatology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: To distinguish using shoulder sonography the different changes present in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), and periarticular disorders (PD) of soft tissue of the shoulder. METHODS: Ninety shoulders of patients with RA, 32 with PMR, 122 with PD, and 108 controls were studied sonographically, using a 7.5 MHz linear probe. The following structures were evaluated: long head of biceps tendon, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and subscapularis tendons, subacromial and subscapularis bursae, rotator cuff (thickness), calcifications, and glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints. Statistical analysis was by Student's t test and chi-squared test. RESULTS: Involvement of long head of biceps tendon (peritendinous fluid collection, changes of thickness, and/or echotexture) was significantly different between RA and PMR and between PD and PMR. Alterations in thickness and/or fibrillar pattern were evaluated in rotator cuff tendons: supraspinatus tendon was involved with significant differences between PD and both RA and PMR; the changes of subscapularis tendon were present, with significant differences between PD and both the other groups; the alterations of infraspinatus tendon were not statistically different between the 3 groups. Effusion within bursae was present, with significant differences only between RA and PD. The mean thickness of rotator cuff was significantly different between controls (6.2 mm) and both PD (5.3 mm) and RA (5.8 mm), and between PMR (6 mm) and PD. Evaluation of effusion within the glenohumeral joint (capsule-bone distance) showed significant differences between controls (2.4 mm) and both RA (4.2 mm) and PMR (4 mm), between RA and PD (2.6 mm), and between PMR and PD. Calcifications were present only in PD (21.3%) and RA (6.7%), with significant differences. Effusion within the acromioclavicular joint was present in RA (35.5%) and PD (20.5%), with significant differences. CONCLUSION: Shoulder sonography showed involvement of all structures in RA, the prevalence of effusion in PMR, and involvement mainly of tendons in PD.

5: Eur J Radiol 1998 May;27 Suppl 1:S31-8

Rheumatoid arthritis: sequences.

Scutellari PN, Orzincolo C

Department of Biological Sciences and Advanced Therapy, Ferrara University School of Medicine, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder of unknown etiology characterized by symmetric, erosive synovitis and sometimes multisystem involvement. It affects 1% of the adult population and exhibits a chronic fluctuating course which may result in progressive joint destruction, deformity, disability and premature death. We review the literature data relative to the peculiar pathologic features of the disease shown by diagnostic imaging techniques. METHODS: All our patients were classified according to the diagnostic criteria of the American Rheumatism Association (1987). Plain radiography remains the diagnostic technique of choice, but ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are also used. RESULTS: Clinically articular involvement presents as pain, swelling, stiffness and motion impairment. The patients with positive rheumatoid factor are > 70% likely to develop joint damage or erosions within 2 years of disease onset. Any joint can be involved, but the proximal interphalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints of the hand and the wrist are preferential sites, as well as the metatarsophalangeal joint of the foot, the knee and the joints of the shoulder, the ankle and the hip. Symmetry is the hallmark of joint involvement. The synovium of bursae and tendon sheaths is also affected. Soft tissue (subcutaneous nodules), muscles (weakness and atrophy) and vessels (vasculitis) may also be involved. Systemic involvement may result in Felty's syndrome, metabolic bone disorders (i.e. osteoporosis), Sjogren syndrome and pleuropulmonary abnormalities (pleural effusion, fibrosing alveolitis, constrictive bronchiolitis). The earliest abnormalities consist in synovial proliferation, soft tissue swelling, and osteoporosis. At a slightly later stage, the inflamed synovial tissue ('pannus') extends across the cartilage surface, leading to chondral erosions and small bone erosions at the joint margin (bare areas). Marginal and central erosions follow in advanced stages and finally fibrous ankylosis, joint deformities (subluxations and dislocations), fractures and fragmentations are typical findings of more advanced RA. CONCLUSION: RA is a frequent joint disorder with a characteristic radiographic picture. Joint involvement patterns are sufficiently common to permit accurate diagnosis, especially when fusiform soft tissue swelling, regional osteoporosis, marginal and central erosions and diffuse loss of interosseous space are present. Conventional radiography remains the standard imaging technique for joint studies in the patients with suspected RA. US is recommended to diagnose soft tissue involvement (joint effusion). CT is very useful for showing abnormal processes in complex joints (sacroiliac and temporomandibular joints and craniocervical junction) which are difficult to depict completely with conventional radiography. Magnetic resonance applications include the assessment of disease activity: in particular, this technique may be the only tool differentiating synovial fluid and inflammatory pannus.

8: Rheumatol Int 1998;17(6):229-32

Elderly onset rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica: ultrasonographic study of the glenohumeral joints.

Lange U, Teichmann J, Stracke H, Bretzel RG, Neeck G

Department of Rheumatology, University of Giessen, Bad Nauheim, Germany.

The glenohumeral joints of 32 patients (aged 60 or above) were examined using ultrasonography. Thirteen patients were suffering from characteristic polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) symptoms. In contrast 19 other patients initially had similar complaints, but were diagnosed as having elderly onset rheumatoid arthritis (EORA) upon development of typical symptoms. Ultrasound examination revealed glenohumeral joint inflammation in 61% (8 out of 13) of the patients with PMR and 63.2% (12 out of 19) of the patients with EORA. These findings suggest that a subgroup of patients with PMR and EORA suffers from shoulder joint inflammation and this synovitis/bursitis/intraarticular effusion might play an important role in the understanding of their symptoms. We conclude that overlapping forms of PMR and a predominate rheumatoid factor negative subgroup of EORA might exist and should be further characterized.

7: Rheum Dis Clin North Am 1998 Feb;24(1):67-82

The rheumatoid shoulder.

Cuomo F, Greller MJ, Zuckerman JD

Department of Orthopaedics, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York, USA.

Rheumatoid arthritis of the glenohumeral joint can produce significant pain and disability that interferes with the ability to perform even the basic activities of daily living. In this article the authors discuss the epidemiologic aspects of rheumatoid arthritis, the pathologic condition as it affects the shoulder complex (consisting of the glenohumeral, acromioclavicular, and sternoclavicular joints), the differential diagnosis, clinical and radiographic manifestations, and treatment approaches designed to maintain or regain function.

8: Scand J Rehabil Med 1997 Dec;29(4):223-32

Shoulder, elbow and wrist movement impairment--predictors of disability in female patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Bostrom C, Harms-Ringdahl K, Nordemar R

Department of Surgical Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

To explore and describe how shoulder, elbow and wrist movement impairment and age, disease duration, disease activity and shoulder-upper arm pain are associated with disability in rheumatoid arthritis, these variables were investigated in 63 females. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that limitations in functional shoulder-arm movement and in active wrist motion ranges explained 30-35% of the variation among the patients' results within each of the physical disability instruments used. The Ritchie index for the upper-extremity might be a predictor of disability, explaining 6-28% of the variation within different disability questionnaires, while shoulder tendalgia explained 24% of the variation in shoulder-arm disability. Altogether, however, our predicting variables only explained 11-30% of the variation in shoulder-arm disability and 25-50% of the variation in the other disability areas studied. Thus, other factors not studied here, e.g. muscle strength and hand grip function, and e.g. psychological and social factors are probably also of importance and remain to be elucidated.

8: J Rheumatol 1996 Dec;23(12):2043-8

Assessment of shoulder function in rheumatoid arthritis.

van Den Ende CH, Rozing PM, Dijkmans BA, Verhoef JA, Voogt-van der Harst EM, Hazes JM

Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital Leiden, The Netherlands.

OBJECTIVE: (1) To develop a simple outcome measure of shoulder function in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the Shoulder Function Assessment (SFA) Scale; (2) to compare the properties of this scale with those of 2 existing measures of shoulder function, the Constant Scale and the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Scale. METHODS: Fifty consecutive patients with RA participated in an inpatient multidisciplinary treatment program. The SFA Scale was constructed by selecting items considered simple to assess and relevant to shoulder function by a team consisting of a rheumatologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. To examine the intra and interobserver reliability in 25 patients the SFA Scale, the Constant, and the HSS Scale were assessed twice by examiner CHME, in the other 25 patients once by examiner CHME, and once by examiner EMV. The validity of all 3 scales was determined by calculating the correlation with (1) the observed shoulder function, (2) the patient's opinion of shoulder function, and (3) shoulder joint deformity. A receiver operating characteristic curve was constructed to determine the accuracy of all scales to discriminate between differences in the shoulder function of the "best" and "worst" shoulder as reported by the patient. RESULTS: The validity and the reliability of the SFA Scale were equivalent to or better than the validity and reliability of the Constant and the HSS scale. The discriminative ability of the SFA Scale was superior to both other scales. CONCLUSION: The SFA Scale is a reliable, valid, and accurate measure of shoulder function in patients with RA that can be completed within 3 minutes.

9: Acta Orthop Scand 1996 Jun;67(3):258-63

Shoulder destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. Classification and prognostic signs in 83 patients followed 5-23 years.

Hirooka A, Wakitani S, Yoneda M, Ochi T

Department of Orthopedics, Sekime Hospital, Osaka, Japan.

We studied the natural course and the possibility of making prognoses about shoulder joint destructions in 83 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (166 shoulder joints). For this purpose, we used radiographic patterns and 2 indices (upward migration and medial displacement). The patterns of joint destruction were classified into 5 groups: 1) non-progressive type (n 74) with normal radiographs, only osteopenia or small erosions even after 15-20 years of RA; 2) erosive type (n 22) showing marginal erosions but no collapse; 3) collapse type (n 34) showing subchondral cysts, followed by collapse; 4) arthrosis-like type (n 12) showing arthrotic features; 5) mutilating type (n 14) showing mutilating bone destructions. From the radiographic findings and the 2 indices determined at 5-10 years, we could predict the prognosis of shoulder joint destruction after 15-20 years of RA. Our findings may be of value for selecting treatment, including surgery, for the rheumatoid shoulder.