Systemic staging for urate crystal deposits with dual-energy CT and ultrasound in patients with suspected gout

Rheumatol Int. 2014 Jun;34(6):763-71. doi: 10.1007/s00296-014-2979-1. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Objective of the study is to compare the diagnostic accuracy for detecting monosodium urate crystal deposits between dual-energy CT (DECT) and ultrasound (US). Sixty consecutive patients (49 men, mean age 62 years) with clinically suspected gout were included in this case-control study. DECT and US of feet, knees, hands and elbows were performed in all patients. Polarisation microscopy of synovial fluid or a score incorporating serum uric acid level, first MTP joint involvement, gender, previous patient-reported arthritis attack, cardiovascular diseases, joint redness and onset within 1 day was used as standard of reference. Standard of reference classified 39 patients as gout positive. Sixteen patients had gout and a concomitant rheumatic disease. Sensitivities for diagnosis of gout disease were 84.6 % (33/39) for DECT and 100 % (39/39) for US. Specificities were 85.7 % (18/21) for DECT and 76.2 % (16/21) for US. Positive and negative predictive values were 91.7 % (33/36) and 75.0 % (18/24) for DECT, 88.6 % (39/44) and 100 % (16/16) for US, respectively. Urate crystals were detected most frequently in MTP1 joints (DECT 20/78, US 58/78), any other toe joints (DECT 25/78, US 62/78) and knees (DECT 41/78, US 31/78). The volumetry of DECT computed a mean urate crystal deposit load of 2.1 cm(3) (SD 9.6 cm(3)). A mean effective dose of ≤0.5 mSv was estimated. DECT is more specific for the diagnosis of gout than US. However, it fails to detect small urate crystal deposits. It might be particularly useful for patients with ambivalent findings, concomitant rheumatic diseases and with non-conclusive joint aspiration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Foot Joints / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gout / diagnosis*
  • Gout / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Polarization
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Synovial Fluid / chemistry*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uric Acid*


  • Uric Acid