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Papers of the Week

2020 May 13

Curr Rheumatol Rep



Radiological Findings of the Cervical Spine in Rheumatoid Arthritis: What a Rheumatologist Should Know.


Drosos AA, Pelechas E, Voulgari PV
Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2020 May 13; 22(6):19.
PMID: 32405896.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting mainly the peripheral skeleton in a symmetrical manner rather than the axial skeleton, but when it occurs it can affect the cervical spine (CS). Although CS involvement is a frequent radiographic finding in RA, the clinical features are scarce, but potentially life-threatening with severe neurological deficits or even death due to brain stem compression. The commonest site of inflammation of the CS is the articulation between C and C vertebrae, the atlanto-axial region. The radiological finding observed in this region is the atlanto-axial subluxation (AAS). For the evaluation of CS in RA the classical diagnostic technique used mostly is conventional radiography (CR). Since CR does not provide good information regarding synovial inflammation, other imaging modalities are used such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. However, CR is the most valuable tool for screening CS in RA patients. Thus, we reviewed the literature until December 2019 for studies regarding CS radiological manifestations using CR in RA patients.