Ultrasound Doppler and tenosynovial fluid analysis in tenosynovitis

Fawad Aslam, Bryant R. England, Bryant R. England, Amy Cannella, Veronika Sharp, Lily Kao, Jon Arnason, Jemima Albayda, Catherine Bakewell, Shruti Sanghvi, Robert Fairchild, Karina D. Torralba, Amy Evangelisto, Paul J. Demarco, Paul J. Demarco, Narandra Bethina, Eugene Y. Kissin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective To assess Doppler ultrasound (US) and tenosynovial fluid (TSF) characteristics in tenosynovitis within common rheumatic conditions, as well as their diagnostic utility. Methods Subjects with tenosynovitis underwent Doppler US and US-guided TSF aspiration for white cell count (WCC) and crystal analysis. Tenosynovial Doppler scores (DS) were semiquantitatively graded. TSF WCC and DS were compared using Kruskal-Wallis tests and logistic regression between non-inflammatory conditions (NIC), inflammatory conditions (IC) and crystal-related conditions (CRC). Receiver operating curves, sensitivity and specificity assessed the ability of WCC and DS to discriminate IC from NIC. Results We analysed 100 subjects from 14 sites. The mean age was 62 years, 65% were female, and the mean TSF volume was 1.2 mL. Doppler signal was present in 93.7% of the IC group and was more frequent in IC than in NIC group (OR 6.82, 95% CI 1.41 to 32.97). The TSF median WCC per 10 9/L was significantly higher in the IC (2.58, p<0.001) and CRC (1.07, p<0.01) groups versus the NIC group (0.38). A TSF cut-off of ≥0.67 WCC per 10 9/L optimally discriminated IC versus NIC with a sensitivity and specificity each of 81.3%. In the IC group, 20 of 48 (41.7%) subjects had a TSF WCC <2.00 per 10 9/L. Conclusions A negative DS helps rule out IC in tenosynovitis, but a positive DS is non-specific and merits TSF testing. Unlike synovial fluid, a lower TSF WCC better discriminates IC from NIC. US guidance facilitates aspiration of minute TSF volume, which is critical for diagnosing tenosynovial CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-913
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the rheumatic diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • arthritis
  • synovial fluid
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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