Ultrasound imaging for the rheumatologist. XLVII. Ultrasound of the shoulder in patients with gout and calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease

Emilio Filippucci, Andrea Delle Sedie, Lucrezia Riente, Luca Di Geso, Linda Carli, Fulvia Ceccarelli, Garifallia Sakellariou, Annamaria Iagnocco, Walter Grassi
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2013, 31 (5): 659-64

OBJECTIVES: This study was aimed at determining the prevalence of ultrasound (US) morpho-structural changes in the shoulders of patients with crystal-related arthropathies, and at investigating the relationship between them and the clinical findings.

METHODS: Eighty-eight patients with a crystal proven diagnosis of gout or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) disease attending the in-patient and the out-patient clinics of four Italian Rheumatology Departments were consecutively enrolled in this multi-centre study. All patients were clinically examined by an expert rheumatologist who recorded clinical and laboratory data in addition to the presence/absence of spontaneous shoulder pain and performed the Hawkins, Jobe, Patte, Gerber, and Speed tests. In each centre, US examinations were carried out by a rheumatologist expert in musculoskeletal US blinded to clinical data, using a MyLab TWICE XVG machine (Esaote SpA, Genoa, Italy) equipped with a linear probe operating at 4-13 MHz, and a Logiq 9 machine (General Electrics Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI, USA) with a linear probe operating at 9-14 MHz. Shoulders were scanned to detect peri-articular inflammation, rotator cuff pathology and joint involvement, and to reveal US signs indicative of crystal deposits.

RESULTS: A total of 88 patients, 39 with gout, 46 with CPPD disease, and 3 with both gout and CPPD disease, were enrolled. In total, 176 shoulders were clinically assessed, of which 54/176 (30%) were painful and 74/176 (42%) were clinically normal shoulders. All US findings indicative of peri-articular synovial inflammation were more frequently detected in patients with CPPD disease than in gouty patients. In 50 out of 176 (28.4%) shoulders, US allowed the detection of at least one finding indicative of synovial inflammation. Chronic tendinopathy was a frequent US finding both in gout patients and in patients with CPPD disease and the supraspinatus tendon was the most frequently involved one. In CPPD disease the supraspinatus tendon was found ruptured in a number of shoulders seven times higher than in gouty patients. The osteophytes were found at acromion-clavicular joint in nearly 80% of the shoulders in CPPD disease and in 60% in the gouty patients.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study confirm the high specificity of US findings indicative of crystal deposits at hyaline cartilage level and indicate that the supraspinatus tendon and the fibrocartilage of the acromion-clavicular joint are the most frequently affected structures of the shoulders in patients with crystal-related arthropathies.

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