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Skeletal Radiol. 2013 Oct;42(10):1421-8. doi: 10.1007/s00256-013-1675-7. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

The diagnostic performance of radiography for detection of osteoarthritis-associated features compared with MRI in hip joints with chronic pain.

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Quantitative Imaging Center, Department of Radiology, Boston University School of Medicine, FGH Building 3rd Floor, 820 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



To evaluate the diagnostic performance of radiography for the detection of MRI-detected osteoarthritis-associated features in various articular subregions of the hip joint.


Forty-four patients with chronic hip pain (mean age, 63.3 ± 9.5 years), who were part of the Hip Osteoarthritis MRI Scoring (HOAMS) cohort, underwent both weight-bearing anteroposterior pelvic radiography and 1.5 T MRI. The HOAMS study was a prospective observational study involving 52 subjects, conducted to develop a semiquantitative MRI scoring system for hip osteoarthritis features. In the present study, eight subjects were excluded because of a lack of radiographic assessment. On radiography, the presence of superior and medial joint space narrowing, superior and inferior acetabular/femoral osteophytes, acetabular subchondral cysts, and bone attrition of femoral head was noted. On MRI, cartilage, osteophytes, subchondral cysts, and bone attrition were evaluated in the corresponding locations. Diagnostic performance of radiography was compared with that of MRI, and the area under curve (AUC) was calculated for each pathological feature.


Compared with MRI, radiography provided high specificity (0.76-0.90) but variable sensitivity (0.44-0.78) for diffuse cartilage damage (using JSN as an indirect marker), femoral osteophytes, acetabular subchondral cysts and bone attrition of the femoral head, and a low specificity (0.42 and 0.58) for acetabular osteophytes. The AUC of radiography for detecting overall diffuse cartilage damage, marginal osteophytes, subchondral cysts and bone attrition was 0.76, 0.78, 0.67, and 0.82, respectively.


Diagnostic performance of radiography is good for bone attrition, fair for marginal osteophytes and cartilage damage, but poor for subchondral cysts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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