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Rheumatol Int. 2011 Oct;31(10):1349-54. doi: 10.1007/s00296-010-1468-4. Epub 2010 Apr 17.

Feasibility study of semi-automated measurements of finger joint space widths.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Erlanger Allee 101, 07747, Jena, Germany.


The purpose of this study is to evaluate technical feasibility based on image capturing conditions (film-focus distance (FFD), film sensitivity, film brand, exposure level and tube voltage) that potentially alter radiographs and consequently may influence the semi-automated measurement of joint space distance (JSD) by computer-aided joint space analysis (CAJSA) in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The radiographs of a left hand (deceased man) were acquired under systematically changing image capturing conditions (exposure level: 4-8 mAs; FFD: 90-130 cm; film sensitivity: 200/400 and tube voltage: 40-52 kV with different image modalities: conventional radiographs, original digital radiographs, digital print-outs). All JSD-measurements were performed with the CAJSA-technology (Radiogrammetry Kit, Version 1.3.6; Sectra; Sweden) at the metacarpal-phalangeal articulation. JSD-analysis was not influenced by changes of FFD, exposure level, film sensitivity or film brand. JSD showed significant variation caused by tube voltage (conventional: CV = 1.913% for Agfa and CV = 2.448% for Kodak; digital: CV = 0.741% for Philips print-outs and CV = 0.620% with original digital images versus CV = 2.185% for Siemens print-outs and 0.951% with original digital images). Computer-aided joint space analysis for JSD-measurements is unaffected by the following image capturing parameters: film-focus distance, film sensitivity, film brand and exposure level. An influence of tube voltage was detected in a lesser extent for original digital images compared to the printed digital as well as conventional versions. Consequently, a standardized tube voltage is essential for accurate reproductions of CAJSA-measurements in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

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