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Adelsmayr, G; Haidmayer, A; Spreizer, C; Janisch, M; Quehenberger, F; Klocker, E; Graninger, W; Fuchsjäger, M; Hermann, J.
The value of MRI compared to conventional radiography in analysing morphologic changes in the spine in axial spondyloarthritis.
Insights Imaging. 2021; 12(1): 183 Doi: 10.1186/s13244-021-01127-x [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Adelsmayr Gabriel
Fuchsjäger Michael
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Graninger Winfried
Haidmayer Andreas Michael
Hermann Josef
Janisch Michael August Johann
Klocker Eva Valentina
Quehenberger Franz

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BACKGROUND: Imaging of morphologic changes in the vertebral spine in axial spondyloarthritis (SpA) is routinely performed with conventional radiography limited by superposition in the thoracic segments and radiation exposure. The objective was to assess the reliability of MRI compared to conventional radiography in depicting morphologic vertebral lesions in patients with axial SpA. Forty patients diagnosed with axial SpA were included in this cross-sectional study. Patients underwent MRI of the whole spine with T1-weighted and TIRM sequences in the sagittal plane and conventional radiography of the cervical and lumbar spine in lateral projections. Morphologic changes (syndesmophytes and erosions) in the anterior vertebral endplates on MRI and conventional radiography were independently evaluated by two radiologists. Inter-modality and interobserver agreement were calculated using Cohen's Kappa. RESULTS: Inter-modality agreement was low for cervical and lumbar syndesmophytes and erosions (κ ≤ 0.2 ± 0.07-0.1). Interobserver agreement on conventional radiography was highest for cervical and lumbar anterior syndesmophytes/bridging (κ = 0.92 ± 0.02-0.03). Syndesmophytes in thoracic anterior vertebral units were the most frequent MRI finding with a high interobserver agreement (κ = 0.83 ± 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In imaging morphologic changes in the spine in patients with axial SpA, MRI was shown to be not an equivalent substitute but a complementary imaging modality to conventional radiography. Conventional radiography seems superior to depict morphologic cervical and lumbar vertebral changes compared to MRI, whereas MRI may visualise morphologic lesions in the thoracic spine.

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