Optimization of the Grashey View Radiograph for Critical Shoulder Angle Measurement: A Reliability Assessment With Zero Echo Time MRI

Orthop J Sports Med. 2022 Aug 12;10(8):23259671221109522. doi: 10.1177/23259671221109522. eCollection 2022 Aug.


Background: Suboptimal positioning on Grashey view radiographs may limit the prognosticating potential of the critical shoulder angle (CSA) for shoulder disorders.

Purpose: To investigate whether radiography optimized according to the latest research is reliable for measuring CSA in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) featuring 3-dimensional (3D) zero echo time (ZTE) sequencing, which accentuates the contrast between cortical bone and surrounding soft tissue with high fidelity.

Study design: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: Patients with shoulder pain were prospectively and consecutively enrolled. All patients had Grashey view radiographs as well as 3.0-T MRI scans with isotropic 3D ZTE sequencing. Acceptable positioning on the radiographs was determined using the ratio of the transverse to longitudinal (RTL) diameter of the lateral glenoid outline; radiographs with an RTL ≥0.25 were repeated. Two observers independently measured the CSA on the radiographs and the coronal oblique reformatted ZTE images, the latter including verification of measurement points by cross-referencing against images from other planes. Reliability of measurements between observers and modalities was analyzed with the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The paired-samples t test was used to compare the differences between imaging modalities.

Results: Enrolled were 65 patients (35 female and 30 male; mean age, 40.2 years; range, 25-49 years). Radiographs with optimal positioning (RTL < 0.25) were attained after a mean of 1.6 exposures (range, 1-4); the mean RTL was 0.09 (range, 0-0.20). Interobserver agreement of CSA was excellent for radiographs (ICC = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.84-0.94) and good for ZTE MRI scans (ICC = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.71-0.92). Intermodality agreement of CSA between radiographs and ZTE MRI scans was moderate (ICC = 0.66; 95% CI, 0.48-0.73). The CSA was significantly different between an optimal radiograph (30.7° ± 4.3°) and ZTE MRI scan (31.8° ± 3.8) (P = .005). Subgroup analysis revealed no significant differences in CSA measurement between ZTE MRI scans and Grashey view radiographs with an RTL of <0.1 (P = .08).

Conclusion: CSA measurement on ZTE MRI scans with anatomic point cross-referencing was significantly different from that on Grashey view radiographs, even with optimal positioning, and radiography may necessitate more than 1 exposure. An RTL of <0.1 ensured reliability of radiographs when other standards of sufficient x-ray exposure were met.

Keywords: Grashey view; critical shoulder angle; magnetic resonance imaging; zero echo time imaging.