Recommendation ID

Ultrasound in diagnosis:- What is the clinical and cost effectiveness of using ultrasound in addition to clinical assessment when there is uncertainty about the diagnosis in adults with suspected RA?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Why this is important:- Early diagnosis of RA is essential to reduce the impact of the disease on multiple systems in the body. The course of RA and the initial presentation can be highly variable; most people with RA have definite synovitis on clinical assessment, but sometimes this is not obvious, leading to uncertainty about the diagnosis. Ultrasound is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive imaging modality that can detect subclinical synovitis and early erosive disease. It might help determine an early diagnosis of RA when the diagnosis would otherwise be uncertain. Early diagnosis enables earlier treatment, providing an opportunity to improve the longer term outcomes for people with RA. The use of ultrasound may also allow healthcare professionals to be more confident about ruling out a diagnosis of RA.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Rheumatoid arthritis in adults: management
Date issued
July 2018

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 31/07/2018