VIBE-MRI Technique Detects More Sacroiliac Joint Erosions in AxSpA

Human sacroiliac joint, computer artwork.
The VIBE technique identified articular destructive damage in patients with axial spondyloarthritis.

Volume-interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has demonstrated superiority in visualizing erosive cartilage defects in sacroiliac joints in patients with axial spondyloarthritis, according to a study published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

The sacroiliac joints of 109 individuals with axial spondyloarthritis were examined using T1-weighted MRIs, VIBE-MRIs, and computed tomography scans (CTs). A semicoronal view was taken for MRIs; the CTs were taken in both semicoronal and axial views.

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Two blinded researchers performed the examinations using sacroiliac joint quadrants (SQ) according to Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society guidelines to define the erosions. The ability of VIBE-MRIs to detect sacroiliac joint erosions was compared with the results of T1-weighted MRIs and CTs.

The VIBE-MRIs detected the most erosions (199 SQ), followed by T1-weighted MRIs (182 SQ; VIBE-MRI vs T1-weighted MRI, P =.031) and CTs (153 SQ; VIBE-MRI vs CT, P<.001). The VIBE-MRIs showed a higher sensitivity than the T1-weighted MRIs (71.2% vs 63.4%, respectively), though they had similar specificity (87.3% vs 88.2%, respectively).

Linear regression analysis demonstrated a significant association between young age and occurrence of erosions using both VIBE-MRIs (β=0.384; P <.001) and T1-weighted MRIs (β=0.369; P <.001) compared with CT scans.

One limitation to this study was the potential that the results were influenced by the hypersensitivity of the VIBE-MRI technique.

The study researchers concluded that “MRI examinations with the established T1-weighted sequence and the VIBE sequence were found to be sensitive for identification of articular destructive damage in the MRI of [sacroiliac joints] in patients with [axial spondyloarthritis]. Overall, VIBE performed better than T1-weighted MRI.”


Baraliakos X, Hoffmann F, Deng X, Wang YY, Huang F, Braun J. Detection of erosions in the sacroiliac joints of patients with axial spondyloarthritis using the magnetic resonance imaging VIBE technique [published February 15, 2019]. J Rheumatol. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.181304