Frequency of radiologic procedures in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Marcia Venegas-Pont, John M. Davis, Cynthia S. Crowson, Sherine E. Gabriel, Eric L. Matteson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) undergo radiologic investigations for disease and comorbidity evaluation. The actual use of radiologic imaging in RA is unknown. Methods: Using the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical record linkage system, adult patients from previously assembled population-based cohorts of Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents who fulfilled the 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA in 1988 to 2007 and comparator subjects without RA of similar age and gender were studied. Data on all radiologic procedures performed were collected. Results: The study included 650 patients with RA and 650 patients without RA. Patients with RA had significantly more radiographs of the chest (rate ratio [RR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-31.38), upper extremity (RR, 2.97; 95% CI, 2.80-83.17), lower extremity (RR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.94-102.16), spine (RR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.35-41.59), and hip, pelvis, or sacroiliac joints (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-11.26), as well as bone radionuclide (RR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.50-52.44) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry imaging (RR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.59-61.98) compared with patients without RA. Among patients with RA, having a positive rheumatoid factor was associated with an increased likelihood of undergoing radiologic procedures (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-11.07). Women with RA underwent more imaging procedures than men (RR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.16-21.23). Conclusions: Patients with RA undergo more radiologic procedures than patients without RA. Among patients with RA, women and patients with a positive rheumatoid factor have more radiologic procedures. The utilization of radiography is likely a reflection of overall disease burden. Despite some guidelines, routine hand wrist radiographs were not obtained with regularity; "overuse" is unlikely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-18
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2015


  • radiographs
  • resource utilization
  • rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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