Radiologists and rheumatologists on performing and reporting shoulder ultrasound: from disagreement to consensus

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G. Filippou
A. Adinolfi *
A. Delle Sedie
E. Filippucci
A. Iagnocco
F. Porta
L. M. Sconfienza
S. Tormenta
V. Di Sabatino
V. Picerno
B. Frediani
(*) Corresponding Author:
A. Adinolfi | antonella.adinolfi986@gmail.com

Abstract

Shoulder pain is a common condition in the rheumatologist’s practice, yet there are no guidelines on how to report shoulder ultrasound (US) examinations. The aim of this study was to compare scanning and reporting techniques performed by radiologists and rheumatologists and identify any discrepancies between the two. The participants in this study were five rheumatologists and two radiologists specialized in musculoskeletal US. The study was divided in 2 phases. In the first phase, each participant performed an US of 3 patients and reported the findings without knowing the patient diagnosis and the findings reported by the other operators. Other three investigators reported the US technique of each operator. Reports and images were subsequently compared to identify any discrepancies and reach consensus on a common approach. In the second phase, a US scan was performed on a fourth patient in a plenary session to assess feasibility and efficacy of the common approach The US scanning technique was similar for all operators. The differences in reporting emerged in the description of the rotator cuff disease. Radiologists provided a detailed description of lesions (measurements along 2 axis and scoring of lesions), whereas rheumatologists described carefully the inflammatory changes. The experts concluded that lesions should be measured along 2 axes and the grade of degeneration and the age of the lesion should be reported. Another difference emerged in the description of the irregularities of the bone surface. The experts concluded that the term erosion should be used only when an inflammatory joint disease is suspected. This study led to the clarification of some inconsistencies in US reporting, and represented an interesting collaborative experience between radiologists and rheumatologists.

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