Recognising conditions that masquerade as arthritis


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Researchers have re-iterated the importance of recognising differential diagnosis when patients present with arthritis-like, joint-based symptoms. 

In a new study published in the Journal of Ultrasonography, researchers from the University of California in the United States and Leeds University in the United Kingdom review and provide information on diagnoses of a number of conditions that can mimic arthritis, including synovial osteochondromatosis, pigmented villonodular synovitis, synovial haemangioma, and lipoma arborescens. 

The authors stress the importance of imaging not only in suggesting that the diagnosis is not arthritis, but also in many cases making the specific diagnosis. 

“While radiographs, ultrasound, and CT (computed tomography) have roles to play in the imaging workup, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is particularly valuable in making the final diagnosis with its ability to define a lesion based on its signal characteristics,” the authors say. 

They highlight how for example, while synovial osteochondromatosis can be readily diagnosed on radiographs, ultrasound and CT, when calcification exists in the chondral bodies, MRI is able to demonstrate the chondral bodies before they calcify. 

Imaging also has an important role in identifying damage to the joint associated with these conditions, they add.