Measuring metacarpal cortical bone by digital x-ray radiogrammetry: a step forward?

Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(5):127. doi: 10.1186/ar2788. Epub 2009 Oct 1.


Changes in metacarpal cortical bone mineral density (BMD) using digital x-ray radiogrammetry were studied in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis. After 1, 2, and 5 years, large BMD losses were found: -1.7%, -2.8%, and -5.6%, respectively. Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide levels were independent predictors of bone loss, indicating that the largest amount of bone loss was found in patients with severe inflammation and high production of auto-antibodies, who are known to be at the highest risk of developing radiological bone damage. Studies are needed about the spatial and time relationship between erosions and juxta-articular and metacarpal bone loss.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Density
  • Humans
  • Metacarpal Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography