The longitudinal study of muscle changes with ultrasound: differential changes in idiopathic inflammatory myopathy subgroups

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Objectives: We investigated shear wave elastography (SWE), B mode US and power Doppler (PDUS) as imaging biomarkers for longitudinal follow-up in idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (IIM), with a particular focus on immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) and DM. Methods: Participants had serial SWE, PDUS on the deltoid (D) and vastus lateralis (VL) muscles on four occasions at intervals of 3-6 months. Clinical assessments included manual muscle testing, and patient- and physician-reported outcome scales. Results: Thirty-three participants were included: IMNM = 17, DM = 12, overlap myositis = 3, PM = 1. Twenty were in a prevalent clinic group, and 13 were recently treated cases in an incident group. Differential changes in SWS and US domains occurred with time in both the prevalent and incident groups. In the VL-prevalent subgroup, echogenicity increased over time (P = 0.040), while in the incident cases there was a trend for reduction to normal over time (P = 0.097) with treatment. Muscle bulk reduced in the D-prevalent subgroup over time (P = 0.096), suggesting atrophy. SWS also reduced in the VL-incident subgroup over time (P = 0.096), suggesting a trend towards improvement in muscle stiffness with treatment. Conclusion: SWE and US appear promising as imaging biomarkers for patient follow-up in IIM and indicate changes over time, especially with echogenicity, muscle bulk and SWS in the VL. Due to the limitations of the participant numbers, additional studies with a larger cohort are needed to help evaluate these US domains further and outline specific characteristics within the IIM subgroups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-497
Number of pages8
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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