July 1988

Diphosphonate Bone Scans in Patients With Polyarthralgias

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, Department of Medicine (Drs Schneider, Yonker, Longley, and Panush), Section of Skeletal Radiology, Department of Radiology (Dr Pettersson), College of Medicine, University of Florida, and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center (Drs Longley and Panush), Gainesville, Fla.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(7):1639-1642. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380070121029

• Early detection of inflammatory arthropathy is notoriously difficult with standard radiographic techniques. We therefore assessed bone turnover with technetium Tc 99m medronate in 16 patients with persistent polyarthralglas who had no clinical synovitis, normal radiographs, and nondiagnostic results from laboratory evaluations. Abnormal scans were found in 11 of 16; five were unremarkable. Scan abnormality corresponded with symptomatic joints (11 of 11 patients). These 11 patients had normal test results for rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibody, and HLA-B27. Patients with abnormal scans were treated with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or analgesics (11 of 11), hydroxychloroquine sulfate (four), or gold salts (one), with Improvement (nine of 11); patients with normal scans (five of five) were treated successfully with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or analgesics and reassurance. One patient with a normal scan developed sarcoidosis; one, hypermobility syndrome; and one, a viral syndrome. Two patients had no diagnosis. Abnormal technetium Tc 99m medronate scans In patients with previously undiagnosed polyarthralgias suggested inflammatory arthropathy and influenced management decisions with favorable therapeutic outcomes.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:1639-1642)