Are Routine X-Rays of Hands and Feet Worthwhile in Patients with Suspected Rheumatoid Arthritis?

1 May 2024 • Primary care clinicians and rheumatologists often obtain x-rays of hands and feet in patients with suspected rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In a large study, the yield of this practice was extremely low.

Among 724 patients undergoing evaluation for suspected rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Dutch researchers found that only 4% of the cohort exhibited erosions typical for RA on initial presentation, despite eventual RA diagnosis in 41% of patients. Presence of erosions was not associated with patient-reported duration of symptoms.

These findings question the utility of routine x-rays of hands and feet in suspected RA cases and emphasize the need for reevaluation of diagnostic practices.

Source: NEJM J-Watch| Read full story

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