RSNA musculoskeletal sessions showcase dual-energy CT applications, including gout

November 17, 2009

Musculoskeletal scientific sessions at the RSNA meeting will address the use of dual-energy CT in multiple settings, including the possibility of combined heart and bone density scans. Submitted papers also show the use of dual-energy CT for imaging other indications, such as gout.

Musculoskeletal scientific sessions at the RSNA meeting will address the use of dual-energy CT in multiple settings, including the possibility of combined heart and bone density scans. Submitted papers also show the use of dual-energy CT for imaging other indications, such as gout.

"When we do a dual-energy CT scan it requires a lot of time and a lot of imaging and so the question becomes what else can we use that data for?" said Dr. Michelle Barr, RSNA musculoskeletal subcommittee chair and associate professor of radiology at the University of Virginia Health Systems in Charlottesville.

"Maybe we can study bone density at the same time because the population that tends to have cardiac disease also tends to have osteoporosis," she said. "So we can do two things with one study."

A use for dual-energy CT not explored before involves the identification of gout crystals. Papers demonstrate the ability of imaging to quantify gout crystals and also determine whether the crystals start to decrease in soft tissues post-treatment.

"In the past it's taken 10 years of observing radiographic evidence closely in a patient before we can actually see any findings that confirm gout," Barr said.

Previously a clinician would try to diagnose gout by looking at levels of uric acid in the blood. But often that level is normal in gout patients.

"This is a great breakthrough because it confirms if someone is having problems with gout. We're excited to see there actually is a tool that may be able to diagnosis it early," Barr said.

Another paper looks at the effects of medication on neurotransmitters, specifically how medications affect the transmission of impulses in peripheral nerves.

"As we're getting more and more medications similar to each other for treatment of different diseases, I think this ability to evaluate neurotransmitters and transmitters in peripheral nerves will really affect clinical practice," she said.