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Dual energy CT in gout: a prospective validation study


Objective The authors prospectively determined: (1) the specificity and sensitivity of dual energy CT (DECT) for gout; and (2) the interobserver and intraobserver reproducibility for DECT urate volume measurements.

Methods Forty crystal-proven gout patients (17 tophaceous) and 40 controls with other arthritic conditions prospectively underwent DECT scans of all peripheral joints using a gout protocol that color-codes the composition of tissues. A blinded radiologist identified urate deposition to calculate specificity and sensitivity of DECT for gout. Inter-rater volumetric reproducibility was determined by two independent radiologists on 40 index tophi from the 17 tophaceous gout patients using automated software.

Results The mean age of the 40 gout patients was 62 years, the mean gout duration was 13 years and 87% had a history of urate-lowering therapy (ULT). The specificity and sensitivity of DECT for gout were 0.93 (95% CI, 0.80 to 0.98) and 0.78 (0.62 to 0.89), respectively. When the authors excluded three gout cases with unreadable or incomplete scans, the sensitivity was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.68 to 0.94). The urate volumes of 40 index tophi ranged from 0.06 cm3 to 18.74 cm3 with a mean of 2.45 cm3. Interobserver and intraobserver intraclass correlation coefficients for DECT volume measurements were 1.00 (95% CI, 1.00 to 1.00) and 1.00 (95% CI, 1.00 to 1.00) with corresponding bias estimates (SD) of 0.01 (0.00) cm3 and 0.01 (0.03) cm3.

Conclusions These prospective data indicate high reproducibility of DECT urate volume measures. The specificity was high, but sensitivity was more moderate, potentially due to frequent ULT use in our patients.

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