Online first

Acta Reumatológica Portuguesa - Online First: 2019-03-22
Clinical practice, rules or action protocols

Portuguese recommendations for the use of ultrasound in rheumatology

Polido-Pereira J, Serra S, Teixeira F, Ponte C, Cerqueira M, Cruz M, Araújo F, Barros R, Costa T, Santos-Faria D, Lopes C, Madruga-Dias J, Oliveira M, Teixeira R, Vilar A, Falcão S, Saraiva F, Figueiredo G


Introduction: Ultrasound (US) is a relatively cheap, easily available and reliable method to improve the care of rheumatic patients. However, its use in rheumatology practice is very heterogeneous and needs to be standardized. Objectives: To develop recommendations for the use of US in rheumatic diseases endorsed by the Portuguese Society of Rheumatology. Methods: A systematic literature review of the available recommendations on the use of ultrasound in rheumatic diseases was performed and presented in a Portuguese Society of Rheumatology meeting to a subgroup of rheumatologists and rheumatology trainees with special interest in the subject. The most important topics to be addressed were selected and assigned to subgroups for literature review and draft recommendations. Following an iterative process of consensus, the final recommendations were developed, and their level of agreement voted anonymously online. A recommendation was approved when the average level of agreement was ≥ 7.5 in a 10-point Likert scale. Results: Fourteen recommendations were produced regarding nine rheumatology topics: rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, connective tissue diseases, polymyalgia rheumatica, vasculitis, crystal-deposition diseases, soft tissue rheumatism, osteoarthritis and ultrasound-guided procedures. Conclusion: We developed an up-to-date guidance in the form of recommendations for the use of US in nine different areas of rheumatology. As ultrasound is an important imaging modality with increasing use in the rheumatology setting, and there are frequent technological advances in the ultrasound machines and probes, in parallel with continuous associated research, these recommendations should be regularly updated.