Prevalence of calcific deposits within the rotator cuff tendons in adults with and without subacromial pain syndrome: clinical and radiologic analysis of 1219 patients

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Oct;24(10):1588-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.02.024. Epub 2015 Apr 11.


Background: Calcific tendinopathy is one of the most frequent causes of pain in the shoulder and is characterized by the presence of calcific deposits in the rotator cuff; however, calcific deposits have also been described in asymptomatic individuals. Only a few authors have reported epidemiologic data on the prevalence of calcific deposits in the rotator cuff.

Methods: This study analyzed clinical and radiological data of 1219 adults with and without subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS) to assess the prevalence of calcific deposits in the rotator cuff. Multivariate analysis was used to define risk factors associated with the presence of symptomatic calcific tendinopathy.

Results: Calcific deposits were found in the rotator cuff of 57 of 734 asymptomatic patients (7.8%). Of 485 patients with SAPS, 42.5% had calcific deposits. Age between 30 and 60 years (odds ratio [OR], 8.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5-26.3; P < .001), subacromial pain (OR, 7.1; 95% CI, 5.1-9.9, P < .001), and female gender (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0; P = .014) were significantly associated with increased odds of calcific deposits.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that women aged between 30 and 60 years with SAPS and a calcific deposit of >1.5 cm in length have the highest chance of suffering from symptomatic calcific tendinopathy of the rotator cuff. The prevalence rates of 7.8% in asymptomatic patients and 42.5% in patients with SAPS provide a current view on the epidemiology of calcific deposits in the rotator cuff.

Keywords: Calcific tendinopathy; epidemiology; prevalence; risk factors; subacromial pain syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Asymptomatic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcinosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rotator Cuff / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sex Factors
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Syndrome
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendinopathy / epidemiology
  • Tendinopathy / etiology