Spondyloarthritis - SPACE

Prof Dr. D.M. F.M. van der Heijde, Rheumatology, LUMC
Dr. M. Reijnierse, Prof. dr J.L. Bloem, Radiology, LUMC


Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease involving the spine. The formation of syndesmophytes (bony spikes at the corners of the vertebrae) resulting in bony bridges connecting the vertebrae in the spine is characteristic for the disease. The diagnosis is often delayed, leading to insecurity for the patient and increase in health costs. Since new effective medication (TNF blocking agents) is available, early detection of spondyloarthritis is of increasing importance. The aim is to detect both clinical and radiological parameters which can predict the diagnosis. The follow up in time as well as the evaluation of therapy is of major interest. MRI of the spine and sacroiliac joints is performed in addition to conventional imaging. The detection of additional value of high field (3T and 7T) MRI is another goal of this project.

Study populations

Patients with chronic low back pain started before the age of 45, visiting the out-patient SPACE clinic (SPondyloArthritis Caught Early) in LUMC.

Collaborative networks

  • C. J. Gorter Center for High-Field MRI: Prof. dr. A. Webb
  • Department of Rheumatology LUMC: Prof Dr. D.M. F.M. van der Heijde
  • There is a wide international network based on the ASAS (Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society). E.g.
    • Service de Radiologie B, CHU Cochin, Paris, France.
    • Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Funding is received from the Dutch "Reumafonds": High sensitive imaging methods to assess relation between inflammation and syndesmophyte formation in Ankylosing Spondylitis