Synovial hypertrophy, effusion, and articular cartilage status were evaluated with gadolinium tetraazacyclododecanetetraacetic acid (DOTA)-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in 24 knees in 24 pediatric patients (17 female, seven male; mean age, 10 years; range, 3-18 years) with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). T1-weighted spin-echo sequences were performed with a 0.5-T unit before and immediately after injection of Gd-DOTA (0.1 mmol/kg). Substantial enhancement of synovial proliferation was seen in 23 of 24 knees, allowing precise assessment of pannus extension (n = 23), joint effusion (n = 21), cartilage loss (n = 21), and meniscal hypotrophy (n = 23). On T1-weighted images without contrast enhancement, cartilage thickness, loculation of joint effusion, and pannus extension were underestimated. Thus, Gd-DOTA-enhanced MR imaging is mandatory in the assessment of knee involvement in children with JRA and may prove to be useful in the evaluation of response to therapy.

Article History

Published in print: 1992