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Objective

To report the baseline knowledge of clinical anatomy of rheumatology fellows and rheumatologists from Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, the US, and Uruguay.

Methods

The invitation to attend a workshop in clinical anatomy was an open call by national rheumatology societies in 4 countries or by invitation from teaching program directors in 3 countries. Prior to the workshop, a practical test of anatomic structures commonly involved in rheumatic diseases was administered. The test consisted of the demonstration of these structures or their function in the participant's or instructor's body. At one site, a postworkshop practical test was administered immediately after the workshop.

Results

There were 170 participants (84 rheumatology fellows, 61 rheumatologists, and 25 nonrheumatologists). The overall mean ± SD number of correct answers was 46.6% ± 19.9% and ranged from 32.5–67.0% by country. Rheumatology fellows scored significantly higher than nonrheumatologists. Questions related to anatomy of the hand scored the lowest of the regions surveyed.

Conclusion

Rheumatology fellows and rheumatologists showed a deficit in knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy that is of central importance in rheumatologic assessment and diagnosis. This gap may hinder accurate and cost-effective rheumatologic diagnosis, particularly in the area of regional pain syndromes. Presently, widespread use of musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) by rheumatologists may be premature, since a key component of expert-level MSUS is the integration of an accurate knowledge of anatomy with the views obtained with the ultrasound probe.