Rationale and Objectives: To assess muscular abnormalities related to systemic sclerosis (SSc) using shear wave elastography and correlate results with those of clinical tests. Materials and Methods: We evaluated 55 patients (mean age: 50.4 years; range: 18–88; 34 female) with SSc before treatment and choose muscle groups based on cutaneous involvement and functional impairment [forearms (9); thighs (41); thenar/hypothenar (5)]. We performed shear wave elastography in two orientations to access heterogeneity using virtual touch IQ and mean shear wave velocity values (SWV) and measured skin and fascia thickness. We compared SWVs to the modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS). Twenty-two healthy controls (mean age: 52.0; range: 19–88; 7 female) underwent the same protocol. Results: SWV pattern analysis (homogeneous vs heterogeneous) detected SSc with sensitivity/specificity/negative predictive value/positive predictive value0.79/0.81/0.91/0.62 in transverse and 0.75/0.18/0.91/0.56 in longitudinal orientation. In patients we found poor correlation between SWVs and mRSS but a cutoff of mRSSE = 20 separated them significantly (p < 0.01). Skin and muscle fascia were significantly thicker in patients vs. controls (p < 0.001). Conclusion: SSc involves more than increased skin and fascial thickness which is not fully represented by mRSS. Elasticity differs in muscles with and without SSc. The former shows higher SWV and increased heterogeneity in transversal planes of muscular fibers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging