Radiographic scoring methods in hand osteoarthritis--a systematic literature search and descriptive review

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014 Oct;22(10):1710-23. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.05.026.


Objective: This systematic literature review aimed to evaluate the use of conventional radiography (CR) in hand osteoarthritis (OA) and to assess the metric properties of the different radiographic scoring methods.

Design: Medical literature databases up to November 2013 were systematically reviewed for studies reporting on radiographic scoring of structural damage in hand OA. The use and metric properties of the scoring methods, including discrimination (reliability, sensitivity to change), feasibility and validity, were evaluated.

Results: Of the 48 included studies, 10 provided data on reliability, 11 on sensitivity to change, four on feasibility and 36 on validity of radiographic scoring methods. Thirteen different scoring methods have been used in studies evaluating radiographic hand OA. The number of examined joints differed extensively and the obtained scores were analyzed in various ways. The reliability of the assessed radiographic scoring methods was good for all evaluated scoring methods, for both cross-sectional and longitudinal radiographic scoring. The responsiveness to change was similar for all evaluated scoring methods. There were no major differences in feasibility between the evaluated scoring methods, although the evidence was limited. There was limited knowledge about the validity of radiographic OA findings compared with clinical nodules and deformities, whereas there was better evidence for an association between radiographic findings and symptoms and hand function.

Conclusions: Several radiographic scoring methods are used in hand OA literature. To enhance comparability across studies in hand OA, consensus has to be reached on a preferred scoring method, the examined joints and the used presentation of data.

Keywords: Hand; Osteoarthritis; Radiography; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index