Salivary gland ultrasound is accurate diagnostic tool for Sjögren’s
Rheumatology News June 25, 2018 REPORTING FROM THE EULAR 2018 CONGRESS AMSTERDAM – Ultrasound of the salivary glands is a readily available and inexpensive tool for the diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, according to a study that evaluated this test in relation to the recent American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) classification criteria. In a video interview, Esther-Jellina Mossel reported that the sensitivity and specificity of a Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosis is essentially unchanged when ultrasound replaces a positive ocular staining score, the Schirmer test, or an unstimulated whole saliva flow test, without reducing diagnostic accuracy. The sensitivity of the diagnosis is reduced only if ultrasound is used to replace either of the two remaining ACR/EULAR criteria, which are a labial gland biopsy or an anti-SSA antibody test. In relation to the three criteria that it can replace without loss of diagnostic accuracy, ultrasound might have advantages. “People who don’t have access to an ophthalmologist performing an ocular staining score, for instance, could use an ultrasound of the salivary glands instead of the ocular staining score and still make a diagnosis,” said Ms. Mossel, a PhD student in the department of rheumatology at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). Ultrasound, which is commonly used to evaluate joints of patients with inflammatory diseases, is available in the offices of most rheumatologists, according to Ms. Mossel. She estimated that the evaluation of the salivary glands, which reveals characteristic hypoechogenic areas when Sjögren’s syndrome is present, takes about 10 minutes.