Ultrasonography (US) and power Doppler US (PDUS) are used worldwide for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Superb microvascular imaging (SMI) is a good tool for evaluating inflammatory activity. Thermal imaging is a noncontact, noninvasive procedure using skin temperature measurement. We report a case wherein the thermal and ultrasound images of the hand are compared and evaluated for inflammatory activity in patients with RA. Case: US imaging of the left hand of a 75-year-old woman with RA revealed a hypoechoic lesion of the left wrist joint. PDUS and SMI evaluated blood flow according to the blood flow at Grade 2. The temperature of the hypoechoic lesion with high blood flow was higher than that of the same location on the opposite side. This study shows that combining thermal and blood flow images may be useful for detecting inflammatory activity levels in RA patients.
Keywords: Infrared thermography; power Doppler; rheumatoid arthritis; superb microvascular imaging; ultrasonography.