Study finds CT scans can help detect gout cases traditional tests miss

November 6, 2011, Mayo Clinic

X-ray images known as CT scans can help confirm gout in patients who are suspected of having the painful condition but receive negative results from traditional tests, a Mayo Clinic study has found. The type of CT scan analyzed, dual-energy computed tomography, also is valuable for diagnosing people who cannot be tested with the typical method of drawing fluid from joints, researchers found. The study is being presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual scientific meeting in Chicago.

Gout -- the buildup of crystals in and around joints, causing and painful, potentially disabling flare-ups -- has historically been portrayed as a disease of the wealthy, but it afflicts people from all walks of life. Men are more likely to develop gout, but women's risk rises after menopause, when their uric acid levels approach those of men. Treatment usually involves medication and .

Physicians traditionally check for gout by using a needle to draw fluid from affected joints and examining the fluid for uric acid crystals. Dual-energy CT scans were recently modified to detect the crystals, and the study found the scans "very accurate" in identifying patients with gout, says lead researcher Tim Bongartz, M.D., a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"We wanted to really challenge the new method by including patients who were only a few days into their first flare of gout," Dr. Bongartz says.

Dr. Bongartz notes that CT scans are significantly more expensive than the standard test for diagnosing gout. He also cautions that, while highly accurate overall, in one subgroup of patients studied -- those with very acute gout -- the CT scan failed to identify 30 percent of cases. The new tool is most helpful when joint fluid cannot be obtained or the analysis comes back negative even when is strongly suspected, he says.

Explore further: Dual-energy CT may be useful in evaluating the severity of gout, study suggests

Related Stories

Dual-energy CT may be useful in evaluating the severity of gout, study suggests

April 30, 2011
The incidence of gout is on the rise and duel energy CT has the potential to allow non-invasive diagnosis of the disease, according to radiologists at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital, in Vancouver, ...

Recommended for you

Researcher: Big data, networks identify cell signaling pathways in lung cancer

May 22, 2018
A team of scientists led by University of Montana cell biologist Mark Grimes has identified networks inside lung cancer cells that will help understand this cancer and fight it with drug treatments.

Scientists discover how breast cancer hibernates: study

May 22, 2018
Scientists have identified the mechanism that allows breast cancer cells to lie dormant in other parts of the body only to reemerge years later with lethal force, according to a study published Tuesday.

Downward-facing mouse: Stretching reduces tumor growth in mouse model of breast cancer

May 22, 2018
Many cancer patients seek out gentle, movement-based stretching techniques such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, but does stretching have an effect on cancer? While many animal studies have attempted to quantify the effects of ...

Resetting the epigenetic balance for cancer therapy

May 22, 2018
Though mutations in a gene called MLL3 are common across many types of cancers, their relationship to the development of the disease has been unclear. Now, a Northwestern Medicine study has identified an epigenetic imbalance ...

Compound in citrus oil could reduce dry mouth in head, neck cancer patients

May 21, 2018
A compound found in citrus oils could help alleviate dry mouth caused by radiation therapy in head and neck cancer patients, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Ice cream funds research showing new strategy against thyroid cancer

May 21, 2018
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is almost uniformly fatal, with an average lifespan of about 5 months after diagnosis. And standard treatment for the condition includes 7 weeks of radiation, often along with chemotherapy.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.