Powerful role of imaging in PMR

2 minute read

Dr Claire Owen joins us to talk about imaging for polymyalgia rheumatica and give a few pointers on making a winning presentation.

Amid the bounty of international research at ACR Convergence it was my absolute pleasure to interview local legend Dr Claire Owen who presented a session on polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).

Dr Owen, clinician researcher at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, spoke to In Conversation about how far imaging has come in PMR. She said imaging has taught us a lot about the distinctive pathology of the condition and touched on what needs to be done to characterise its use for disease monitoring.

However, Dr Owen was quick to say that she’s not an advocate for imaging across the board and listed four circumstances where a PET CT can be most useful.

“[That is] where there’s atypical features in terms of how the patient presents, when you’re worried about the patient’s exposure to steroids if they’ve got conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes etc, if there’s a question about the likelihood of concomitant large-vessel giant cell arteritis, and for those patients that don’t seem to be responding particularly well,” Dr Owen said.

Many sessions caught Dr Owen’s eye at ACR Convergence, including an abstract on MRI imaging and giant cell arteritis which looked at the frequency of involvement of the optic nerve and the connective tissue. She was also heartened by a stronger focus on her research area.

“This has been a terrific meeting for PMR. It has actually been on the main stage, and we are finally seeing a push towards doing better for our patients outside of glucocorticoid therapy,” she said.

Asked for tips on making a winning presentation, Dr Owen demurred but suggested a few pointers for aspiring speakers.

“Being very aware of your content area will give you a degree of confidence and I’ll practice the presentation on a number of occasions. Then, I’m always trying to portray for the audience a narrative that links the slides together and really convey a take home message to the audience at the end,” she said.

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