OBJECTIVE: Ultrasound is a promising tool to foster much-needed improvement of skin assessment in systemic sclerosis (SSc). Our aim was to develop evidence and expert opinion-based recommendations to promote the standardisation and harmonisation of technical execution and reporting of skin ultrasound studies in SSc. METHODS: A multidisciplinary task force of 16 members from five European countries and Japan was convened under the auspices of World Scleroderma Foundation. First, a systematic literature review (SLR) was performed. Then, each member proposed and formulated items to the overarching principles, recommendations and research agenda. Two rounds of mails exchange for consensus as well as an on-line meeting were performed to debate and refine the proposals. Two Delphi rounds of voting resulted in the final recommendations. Levels of evidence and strengths of recommendations were assigned, and task force members voted anonymously on the level of agreement with each of the items. RESULTS: Five overarching principles and seven recommendations were developed, based on an SLR and expert opinion, through consensus procedures. The overarching principles highlight the promising role of skin ultrasound in SSc assessment, the need for standardisation of technical aspects, sufficient training and adequate equipment. The recommendations provide standards for the execution and reporting of skin ultrasound in SSc. The research agenda includes the need for more research into unmet needs according to Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Algorithm requirements. CONCLUSION: These are the first recommendations providing guidance on the execution and reporting of skin ultrasound in SSc patients, aiming at improving the interpretability, reliability and generalisability of skin ultrasound, thus consolidating its role in research and practice.
- Health Care
- Outcome and Process Assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy