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Importance of timing of post-contrast MRI in rheumatoid arthritis: what happens during the first 60 minutes after IV gadolinium-DTPA?

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BACKGROUND: Volumes of inflamed synovial membrane determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are closely related to histopathological synovitis and may predict erosive progression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, after IV injection, leakage of MRI contrast from the synovium gradually compromises the differentiation of synovium from joint fluid. OBJECTIVE: To determine the time period after IV MRI contrast (gadolinium-DTPA (Gd)) injection in which synovial membrane volume determination is reliable. METHODS: MRI of five RA knees with clinical synovitis was carried out, with axial, T(1) weighted, spin echo images before IV Gd injection and every 1.75 minutes for 60 minutes post-Gd. By a semiautomated "signal enhancement threshold" method, including voxels with >35% or >45% relative post-Gd enhancement, synovial membrane volumes were estimated at each time point. At 4.25 minutes post-Gd, volumes were also determined by a more accurate but time consuming "manual method". RESULTS: The initially observed synovium-effusion borderline remained clearly visible, and on the same location, within at least the initial 11 minutes post-Gd (that is, within the normal time frame of post-Gd imaging in RA) but started blurring and moving centripetally thereafter. Compared with volumes at all other time points, synovial membrane volumes at 0.75 and 2.50 minutes post-Gd were significantly lower (Wilcoxon-Pratt), suggesting that some synovial membrane areas had not yet exceeded the enhancement threshold. Thereafter, the measured volumes remained practically unchanged. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that MR image acquisition in arthritic knee joints should be performed within the initial approximately 10 minutes after gadolinium contrast injection to achieve the most accurate distinction between synovium and joint fluid but that small time variations are not of major importance to the measured synovial membrane volumes.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Vol/bind60
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)1050-1054
Antal sider5
ISSN0003-4967
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2001

ID: 34062659