Sonography for assessment of haemophilic arthropathy in children: a systematic protocol
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Radiological imaging of joints in children with haemophilia is important to detect abnormalities, grade their severity and monitor the effects of treatment. Scoring systems for staging haemophilic arthropathy have been developed based on plain film or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings. Radiographs alone may be inadequate for evaluating joint disease in children with haemophilia on prophylaxis while MRI may be difficult to access and require the child to be sedated. Sonography can be a useful complementary modality in the evaluation of haemophilic arthropathy that is readily available and does not require the child to be sedated. In this paper, we briefly review the current imaging scales available for the assessment of haemophilic arthropathy and present a systematic protocol for sonographic assessment of the knee and ankle in haemophilic children along with examples of findings in joint effusion/hemarthrosis, synovial hypertrophy and cartilage loss. Also, we correlate the ultrasound findings with the corresponding MRI images demonstrating the anatomic planes used for imaging acquisition. Sonography is a promising technique for the assessment of soft tissue changes which are the earliest findings in haemophilic arthropathy. Further investigation is required for evaluation of osteochondral changes given limitations of sonography in this regard and in minimizing operator dependency, especially if applied in multicentric clinical trials.
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