Current status and recent advances on the use of ultrasonography in pediatric rheumatic diseases

  • Li-Xia Zou
  • Mei-Ping Lu
  • Lawrence Kwok Leung JungEmail author
Review Article



Ultrasonography has become a useful tool in the clinical rheumatology settings in the last two decades, but its use has only recently been explored by pediatric rheumatologists. The aim of this article is to review the literature on the current status and recent advances on the use of ultrasound in pediatric rheumatic diseases.

Data sources

We have retrieved and reviewed the relevant articles from MEDLINE/PubMed databases published so far, on the applications of ultrasound in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, enthesitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and other rheumatic diseases. In addition, articles on novel ultrasound imaging technology of potential use in pediatric rheumatology are also reviewed.


In JIA, ultrasound can be used to detect subclinical synovitis, to improve the classification of patients in JIA subtypes, to capture early articular damage, to monitor treatment response, and to guide intraarticular injections. Ultrasound is also considered useful in other rheumatic disorders for the evaluation of musculoskeletal symptoms, assessment of parotid gland pathology, and measurement of skin thickness and pathology. Novel ultrasound techniques developed to augment the functionality of ultrasonography may also be applicable in pediatric rheumatic disorders.


Ultrasound shows great promise in the assessment and management of children with rheumatologic disorders. However, standardization and validation of ultrasound in healthy children and in patients with rheumatic diseases are still needed.


Dermatomyositis Juvenile arthritis Lupus Pediatric rheumatic diseases Sonoelastography Ultrasound 


Author contributions

LXZ collected and analyzed data and prepared the manuscript. MPL supervised the drafting and revision of the manuscript. LXZ and MPL contributed equally to this work. LKLJ contributed to the conception, drafting and revision of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.


This study is funded by Zhejiang Basic Public Welfare Research Project (LGF19H100002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was not obtained, since this is a literature review article.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li-Xia Zou
    • 1
  • Mei-Ping Lu
    • 1
  • Lawrence Kwok Leung Jung
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology Immunology and Allergy, Children’s HospitalZhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhou 310003China
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyChildren’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C.Washington, D.C., 20010USA

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