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J Rheumatol. 2007 Apr;34(4):874-83.

Computer based methods for measurement of joint space width: update of an ongoing OMERACT project.

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University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Computer-based methods of measuring joint space width (JSW) could potentially have advantages over scoring joint space narrowing, with regard to increased standardization, sensitivity, and reproducibility. In an early exercise, 4 different methods showed good agreement on measured change in JSW over time in the small joints of the hands and feet. Despite differences in measurement values between methods, measurement of within-joint change over time showed no systematic differences. The within-method variation was small, with intra-operator variation being smaller than inter-operator variation. Although this initial study was limited in terms of the number of patients and timepoints (total 10), the number of joints was relatively high (340 joints), so the results were considered strong evidence supporting the validity of computer-based JSW measurements to continue the study of the potential value of JSW by comparison of measurements to manual scoring of joint space narrowing using the COBRA trial images.

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