What is the role of imaging in the workup of reactive arthritis (ReA)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Whole-body scintigraphy is a sensible diagnostic tool for use in screening for enthesopathy and arthropathy. [86]

Positron emission tomography has been found to allow recognition of enthesitis in the early stage of ReA, before other modalities would be able to detect it. [87]

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the sacroiliac joints may reveal disease earlier than conventional radiography would. MRI is more sensitive than computed tomography (CT) or scintigraphy in detecting sacroiliitis and may be necessary in children who do not usually exhibit sacroiliac symptoms. MRI is also useful in assessing activity in the tendons and entheses.

Ultrasonography may reveal enthesitis (as periosteal reaction and tendinosis) more accurately that physical examination would. [56, 52] Echocardiography may reveal carditis or valvular dysfunction in patients with poststreptococcal ReA. [88, 89]

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