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Diagnosis and classification of axial spondyloarthritis 

Diagnosis and classification of axial spondyloarthritis
Diagnosis and classification of axial spondyloarthritis

Floris van Gaalen

, Désirée van der Heijde

, and Maxime Dougados

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date: 05 August 2020

Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is a potentially disabling chronic inflammatory disease affecting the spine and sacroiliac (SI) joints. Lead symptoms are chronic back pain and stiffness. The disease is called radiographic axSpA or ankylosing spondylitis (AS) when, on plain radiographs, bone changes consistent with sacroiliitis are present. When no evidence of sacroiliitis is seen on radiographs, it is called non-radiographic axSpA. In such cases, diagnosis is made based on evidence of active inflammation of SI joints on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical and laboratory features, or a combination of clinical and laboratory features only. Apart from affecting the spine and SI joints, axSpA may involve peripheral joints (e.g. knee, ankle) and manifest in extra-articular manifestations, for example uveitis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. In this chapter, diagnosis and classification of axSpA is discussed, including use of MRI in detecting sacroiliitis and the difference between clinical diagnosis and disease classification.

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