Purpose: Sacroiliac joints (SIJ) inflammation and pain is particularly common in patients with Spondyloarthritis. Intraarticular SIJs injections represent a valuable therapeutic option in this condition. In the rheumatological outpatient clinics this procedure is usually done by landmark guidance (LG) or ultrasound guidance (USG).
Thus we aimed to compare the short term efficacy of USG vs. LG SIJ injections using five outcome measures: 1. Pain; 2. SIJ status (number of positive provocation tests per symptomatic SIJ on physical examination); 3. Disability; 4. Quality of the night sleep; 5. Patients’ satisfaction.
Methods: We enrolled 44 consecutive spondyloarthritis patients with pain in the SIJs that did not respond to NSAIDS and that were otherwise on a stable medical treatment. All patients also had ≥ 3 positive pain provocation tests per SIJ on physical examination. Patients were randomly allocated to receive a single SIJ injection with 7 mg Betamethasone (1 ml) and 1% Lidocaine (1.5 ml) either under USG or with LG.
Results: Both groups showed significant improvement in all outcome parameters. However, the USG approach performed significantly better than the LG ones in all parameters. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the improvement in all patient reported outcomes (VAS, RMDQ, JSEQ) and the reduction in the number of positive SIJ pain provocation tests per symptomatic joint.
Conclusion: Both USG and LG SIJ injections proved to be an efficient treatment for SIJ pain in SpA patients. However, USG of the intervention led to statistically better results in the present study.