CHIGAGO – According to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago, a type of computed tomography scanning (commonly called CT scans) appears to help in the diagnosis of gout by detecting the urate crystals that are often a symptom of the disease.
Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis that has been recognized since ancient times. Initial symptoms of gout usually consist of intense episodes of painful swelling in single joints, most often in the feet (especially the big toe). Gout occurs when excess uric acid (a normal waste product) accumulates in the body, and needle‐like uric acid crystals deposit in the joints. Large deposits of uric acid crystals, called tophi, may also deposit both in joints and in the tissues around joints. This may happen because either uric acid production increases or because the kidneys are unable to remove uric acid from the body adequately.
A type of CT scan called dual energy CT scan (commonly called DECT) is highly accurate in spotting kidney stones, and this technology has recently been modified to detect monosodium urate crystals. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. recently assessed the accuracy of using DECT scanning to diagnose gout as a complementary or alternative way for physicians to make a diagnosis of the disease (in addition to or instead of withdrawing and examining synovial fluid from a person’s joint).
source: American College of Rheumatology