OBJECTIVES--To analyse the association between chondrocalcinosis and osteoarthritis (OA) of the hands and knees in an unselected elderly rural population. METHODS--A community based cross sectional study was performed in individuals randomly selected from a previous epidemiological survey on the prevalence of chondrocalcinosis in people older than 60 years from Osona county, Catalonia, northeastern Spain. Radiological OA (grade 2 or more of Kellgren's classification) was evaluated in 26 individuals with chondrocalcinosis and in 104 controls. A total of 18 articular areas of both knees (medial and lateral tibiofemoral compartments) and hands (first, second and third metacarpophalangeal (MCP), first carpometacarpal, trapezium-scaphoid, radiocarpal and distal radioulnar joints) were studied. RESULTS--Radiological changes of OA in the knees were more common in subjects with chondrocalcinosis than in those without it, with an odds ratio adjusted for age and gender (aOR) of 4.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6 to 11.8, p = 0.005). OA was also more frequent in almost all areas of the hands in individuals with chondrocalcinosis, though the difference reached statistical significance only in the MCP joints (aOR 3.1; 95% CI 1.1 to 8.8; p = 0.033). However, taking into account the side and the different joint compartments analysed, the association between chondrocalcinosis and OA was significant only in the lateral tibiofemoral compartment and the left MCP joints. CONCLUSIONS--In an elderly population unselected for their rheumatic complaints, there was a real association between OA and chondrocalcinosis. This association was particularly relevant in the lateral tibiofemoral compartment of the knee and in the first three left MCP joints.
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