Joint imaging in polymyalgia rheumatica

Mayo Clin Proc. 1976 Aug;51(8):519-24.


Technetium pertechnetate joint scintigrams were abnormal in 24 of 25 patients with polymyalgia rheumatica, in all 16 with rheumatoid arthritis, in 4 of 13 with nonarticular rheumatism, but in none of 26 control patients. Abnormal uptake in polymyalgia patients was commonest in shoulders and was less likely to be symmetric than in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, in whom distal joint abnormalities predominated. The pattern of abnormal uptake in polymyalgia rheumatica was not different in those with biopsy-proved giant cell arteritis. Correlation between symptoms and abnormal scintigrams was 72%, and abnormal uptake was present in 81% of joints of patients having physical abnormalities. Biopsy showed lymphocytic synovitis in the knee of one patient. After treatment the number of abnormal joints declined. These findings suggest that synovitis is common in polymyalgia rheumatica, and that it may account for some or most of the symptoms in this condition.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joints*
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / diagnosis*
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging* / methods
  • Shoulder Joint
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Synovitis / diagnosis
  • Technetium


  • Technetium