Improving diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and spondyloarthritis in general

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Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease belonging to a group of spondyloarthritides that are characterized by the involvement of the axial skeleton (sacroiliac joints and spine), certain pattern of the peripheral joint involvement, typical extra-articular manifestations, relatively high prevalence in the general population (approximately 2% for the whole spondyloarthritides group) and a large (approximately 9 years) diagnosis delay. In the last few years, important steps towards the shortening of this delay have been made. In this review, the current concept of the disease, the most typical manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis and spondyloarthritides in general, recent advances in the imaging of spondyloarthritides, the approach for the early diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis/spondyloarthritides in routine clinical practice, new classification criteria of axial and peripheral spondyloarthritides, and early referral strategies are discussed.

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