Objective: This study aims to evaluate the relationship of ultrasonographic cartilage thickness with clinical and functional parameters in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Materials and Methods: The study included 50 patients with RA and 20 patients with osteoarthritis (OA), together with 20 healthy subjects. Demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients and the healthy controls were recorded. The second and third metacarpophalangeal (MCP) articular cartilage surfaces were examined in both hands of RA patients. Cartilage qualities were also measured using the semiquantitative scoring system for the quality of MCP joint cartilage. Duruöz Hand Index (DHI) was used to assess the hand functions.
Results: The second and third MCP cartilage thicknesses were found to be less in RA patients than in healthy controls and controls with OA (p<0.05). No statistically significant relationship was found between continuous glucocorticoid use and MCP cartilage thickness or semiquantitative scoring (r=0.125, p=0.154; r=0.172, p=0.103; respectively). There was a statistically significant correlation between disease duration, delay time in diagnosis, DHI scores, and the second MCP and third MCP cartilage thicknesses, as well as between the second MCP and third MCP semiquantitative scores (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Thickness of the MCP joint cartilage is significantly lower in patients with RA who experienced a prolonged delay in diagnosis than that in RA patients who adhere to the management and in RA patients.