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INTRODUCTION: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by local and systemic bone loss caused by increased bone resorption. We describe the current utilization of high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) in the evaluation of bone and joint in RA. SOURCES OF DATA: PubMed was searched for publications using keywords that included 'bone microarchitecture', 'high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography' and 'rheumatoid arthritis'. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: HR-pQCT may simultaneously allow assessment of trabecular and cortical bone parameters and be a useful method for depicting bone erosions. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: HR-pQCT only assesses bone microarchitecture at the distal radius and tibia. Controversy exists regarding the optimal way to differentiate cortical and trabecular regions. GROWING POINTS: Although HR-pQCT is currently a research tool, there is potential for its use in the clinical diagnosis and management in RA. Further research is required to evaluate the clinical relevance of imaging abnormalities identified in RA patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Br med bull

Publication Date





107 - 118


bone turnover markers, fracture, high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography, microarchitecture and bone erosions, rheumatoid arthritis, volumetric bone mineral density, Antirheumatic Agents, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Bone Density, Drug Monitoring, Humans, Osteoporotic Fractures, Tomography, X-Ray Computed