Early diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) remains a challenge due to the lack of specificity of clinical symptoms and variable prevalence of axial imaging findings permitting a definite diagnosis. Power Doppler ultrasonography (PDUS) of the entheses has demonstrated to be a potential useful tool for the classification and diagnostic management of early SpA independently of the phenotype. Objectives To assess the classification value (sensitivity and specificity) of PDUS-defined enthesitis for identifying patients fulfilling Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) classification criteria for axSpA (ASAS+) in patients with recent inflammatory back pain (IBP) (the DESIR (DEvenir des Spondylarthropathies Indifférenciées Récentes) cohort). Methods Baseline PDUS was performed at eight entheseal sites, and PDUS enthesitis was defined by the presence of vascularisation at entheseal insertion. Results 402 patients from the DESIR cohort underwent a PDUS evaluation. PDUS enthesitis was detected in 58 (14.4%) patients of whom 40 (14.2%) belonged to the ASAS+ patients and 18 (17%) to the ASAS- patients. The sensitivity of PDUS enthesitis was 13.9% and the specificity was 83.5%, with a positive predictive value of 69% and 26.8% of negative predictive value for meeting ASAS criteria for axSpA. Of the 18 ASAS- patients with positive PDUS, 59% fulfilled Amor's criteria, 88% European Spondyloarthropathy Study Group criteria and 59% both. Conclusions In a cohort of patients with recent IBP, the prevalence of PDUS enthesitis was low (14.4%); however, its specificity for classifying patients as axSpA according to ASAS criteria was high (83.5%). PDUS enthesitis might be of additional value for classifying as patients with axSpA IBP who do not fulfil ASAS criteria.
- ankylosing spondylitis