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Diagnostic value of diffusion-weighted MRI for imaging synovitis in pediatric patients with inflammatory conditions of the knee joint 
Diagnostic value of diffusion-weighted MRI for imaging synovitis in pediatric patients with inflammatory conditions of the knee joint
  Mengxia Li, Alexander Sauer, Annette Holl-Wieden, Thomas Pabst, Henning Neubauer
 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]   Pageviews: 388 Times
Background: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of synovitis has been suggested as a possible non-invasive alternative to contrast-enhanced T1w imaging (ce-T1w). We aimed to study DWI for diagnosing synovitis in the knee joint of pediatric patients, to quantify inter-observer agreement on DWI and ce-T1w and to calculate quantitative measures of synovial diffusivity and conspicuity.
Methods: Forty consecutive patients with known or suspected arthritis of the knee (25 girls, median age 12 years) underwent routine 1.5T MRI with ce-T1w and transverse DWI with b values 50 and 800 s/mm2. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values and signal intensity of inflamed synovium, joint effusion and muscle were measured with regions of interest retrospectively. Post-contrast T1w images (diagnostic standard) and diffusion-weighted images at b = 800 s/mm2 with ADC map were separately rated by three independent and blinded readers with different levels of expertise for the presence and degree of synovitis along with the level of diagnostic confidence.
Results: Thirty-one (78%) patients showed at least some synovial contrast enhancement, 17 (43%) children were diagnosed with synovitis on ce-T1w. Ratings by the 1st reader on ce-T1w and on DWI for synovitis showed very good agreement (kappa = 0.90). Inter-observer agreement on DWI ranged from moderate to substantial with kappa values between 0.68 and 0.79 (all P < 0.001). Agreement and diagnostic confidence were generally lower in patients with mild and without synovial enhancement, compared to patients with synovitis. DWI yielded higher signal of inflamed synovium vs. muscle tissue, but lower signal vs. joint effusion, compared to ce-T1w (all P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Diffusion-weighted imaging is a promising, though reader-dependent alternative to contrast-enhanced imaging in patients with arthritis of the knee, based on our preliminary findings. It holds potential for increasing patient safety and comfort.
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World Journal of Pediatric Surgery

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