In 14 patients with generalised nodal osteoarthritis a four hour bone scan image was found to predict the changes that occur on the radiograph at follow up between three and five years later. The scan abnormality appeared to precede the development of radiographic signs, and joints abnormal on scintigraphy showed most progression. Normal joints and joints abnormal on x ray alone showed little progression, and those that did subsequently alter became abnormal on scan. Scanning may provide a sensitive technique for monitoring osteoarthritis, it may enable a greater understanding of the underlying disease process, and allow evaluation of modifying therapeutic procedures.
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