Comparisons Among Radiography, Ultrasonography And Computed Tomography For Ex Vivo Characterization Of Stifle Osteoarthritis In The Horse

De Lasalle J, Alexander K, Olive J, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2016;57:489-501.

A better understanding of imaging characteristics of equine stifle osteoarthritis (OA) may allow earlier detection and improve prognosis. Objectives of this ex vivo, prospective, methods comparison study were to (1) describe the location and severity of naturally acquired OA lesions in the equine stifle using ultrasound (US), radiography (XR), computed tomography (CT), and macroscopic evaluation (ME); (2) compare the diagnostic performance of each imaging modality with ME; and (3) describe subchondral bone mineral density (BMD) in equine stifle joints with OA using CT. Radiographic, CT, and US evaluations were performed on 23 equine cadaver stifles and compared with ME. Significant associations were found between osteophyte global scores for all imaging modalities (CT, P ˂ 0.0001; XR, P = 0.005; US, P = 0.04) vs. ME osteophyte global scores. Osteophytes were detected most frequently in the medial femorotibial (MFT) joint. A specific pattern of osteophytes was observed, with a long ridge of new bone at the insertion of the MFT joint capsule cranially on the medial femoral condyle. A novel caudo-10°proximo-5°lateral-cranio-disto-medial oblique radiographic projection was helpful for detection of intercondylar osteophytes. Multiplanar CT reformatted images were helpful for characterizing all osteophytes. Osteophyte grades at most sites did not differ among modalities. Low sensitivity/specificity for subchondral bone sclerosis and flattening of femoral condyles suggested that these signs may not be reliable radiographic and CT indicators of equine stifle OA. Equine stifle OA was associated with a decrease in BMD and specific sites of focal subchondral bone resorption/cyst formation were found in some specimens.