Session Type: Poster Session A
Session Time: 8:30AM-10:30AM
Background/Purpose: Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is clinically characterized by chronic inflammatory back pain and by inflammatory and structural changes in the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Several studies have reported high rates of bone marrow edema (BME) suggestive of inflammatory SIJ changes in up to 20% of individuals in the general population < 45 years. An update of the definition of a positive MRI of the SIJ in axSpA for classification purposes, based on the number of slices or quadrants showing BME or structural changes such as erosions or fat lesions (FL), was recently published by ASAS. The aim of this study is to compare the influence of age on the prevalence of inflammatory and structural MRI changes in the SIJ of patients with chronic low back pain diagnosed with axSpA or non-SpA.
Methods: MRIs of the SIJ of patients referred for differential diagnosis of back pain who were finally diagnosed with axSpA or not by experienced rheumatologists, were evaluated using semi-coronal STIR and T1-weighted MRI sequences. All images were scored blinded to, age, sex and diagnosis for the occurrence of BME, FL, erosions and ankylosis on the level of SIJ-quadrants (SIJ-Q). Patient groups were built based on decade of age (until 29, 30-39, 40-49 and ≥50 years).
Results: A total of 309 patients (175 axSpA and 134 non-SpA) with complete MRI sets were included in the analysis. The mean age was 38.5±11.4 and 43.4±13.8, 66.9% and 35.8% were male, the mean CRP was 1.6±2.4 and 1.1±2.1mg/dl and the median back pain symptom duration was 48 and 60 months, respectively. The number of SIJ-Q with BME and erosions was significantly higher in axSpA vs. non-SpA independent of the age group (Table). In comparison, with exception of the patients in the oldest population (≥50 years), the number of SIJ-Q with FL and the number of patients with at least one FL was not different between subgroups, while the number of erosions and FL but not BME was higher in both groups with increasing age. In the univariate analysis, only female sex was significantly associated with higher occurrence of FL.
Conclusion: Despite a relatively high prevalence in non-SpA patients, BME and erosions were significantly more frequent in axSpA independent of age, while the presence of FL was not different between groups. FL and erosions are increasingly found in older age groups independent of diagnosis. These data are relevant for the interpretation of MRI findings in the SIJ of patients suspicious of axSpA.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Baraliakos X, Tsiami S, Kühn A, Fruth M, Braun J. The Influence of Age on the Prevalence of Inflammatory and Post-inflammatory MRI Lesions in the Sacroiliac Joints of Patients with and Without Axial Spondyloarthritis [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021; 73 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/the-influence-of-age-on-the-prevalence-of-inflammatory-and-post-inflammatory-mri-lesions-in-the-sacroiliac-joints-of-patients-with-and-without-axial-spondyloarthritis/. Accessed July 4, 2022.
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/the-influence-of-age-on-the-prevalence-of-inflammatory-and-post-inflammatory-mri-lesions-in-the-sacroiliac-joints-of-patients-with-and-without-axial-spondyloarthritis/