Superb microvascular imaging evaluating joint lesion scores in rheumatoid arthritis compared with power Doppler imaging: A meta-analysis

Background: To compare superb microvascular imaging with power Doppler imaging for evaluating joint lesion scores in rheumatoid arthritis based on high quality clinical cohort or case control studies.

Methods: We searched Medline (via PubMed), Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Embase, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database without restrictions of language and publication status. Two investigators will identify relevant trials, extract data, and appraise risk of bias in each eligible trial. Data will be pooled by either a fixed-effects model or a random-effects model according to the results of heterogeneity identification. The primary outcomes include a semi-quantitative scoring system, through which synovial vascularity intensity was evaluated by means of both power Doppler imaging (PDI) and superb microvascular imaging (SMI). This study will only include high quality clinical cohort or case control studies. Statistical analyses were conducted by STATA version 15.1 software.

Results: This meta-analysis included 11 studies. A total of 4342 joints were assessed through both SMI and PDI. The pooled summary odds ratio was 2.12 (95% confidence interval = 1.80-2.51) with statistical significance (z = 8.82, P < .01). In subgroup analyses, the results revealed also that SMI exhibited more sensitive performance in different subgroups. We found no evidence for publication bias (t = 0.55, P = .598).

Conclusion: Our meta-analysis indicates that SMI ultrasound is more sensitive than conventional PDI in detecting synovitis in RA patients.

Inplasy registration number: INPLASY202060089.