Dual-energy computed tomography compared with ultrasound in the diagnosis of gout

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2014 Jan;53(1):173-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket341. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Objectives: The aim of our study was to compare dual-energy CT (DECT) with US for the diagnosis of gouty arthritis and to correlate the imaging findings with results from synovial fluid aspiration whenever possible.

Methods: We recruited 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) who presented with a clinical suspicion of acute or chronic gout in 37 joints. DECT scans of the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees and elbows were performed. For post-processing, a colour-coding gout software protocol was used. US examinations of the same joints were performed. In addition, joint fluid aspiration was performed in a total of 14 joints.

Results: DECT images were positive for urate crystal deposits in 25 of 37 joints. US findings were positive in 24 of 37 examined joints. In 12 of 14 joints the synovial fluid aspiration was positive. CT and US findings correlated in 32 of 37 joints (86.5%; κ = 0.698, P < 0.001). CT and synovial fluid results correlated in 12 of 14 joints (85.7%; κ = 0.417, P = 0.119). US and cytology findings correlated in 14 of 14 joints (100%; κ = 1, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: DECT and US have comparable sensitivity for the detection of gouty arthritis in a clinical setting. However, DECT results should be interpreted carefully, as there could be some false-negative findings.

Keywords: dual-energy CT; gout; gouty arthritis; synovial fluid; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Gouty / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Synovial Fluid / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Ultrasonography