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Skeletal Radiol. 1997 Apr;26(4):222-5.

The prevalence of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in two large American Midwest metropolitan hospital populations.

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Department of Radiology, UMHC, Minneapolis 55455, USA.



There are no published large-scale studies of the overall prevalence of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) and it has been proposed that the prevalence is greater than previously reported. We thus decided to review chest radiographs in a population of patients over 50 years of age seen at two large but differing metropolitan hospitals in a major American Mid-west city.


The posterior-anterior and lateral chest radiographs of 1363 patients were reviewed for evidence of DISH at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic. There were 500 consecutive inpatient admissions, 540 consecutive patients who attended the outpatient clinics and 326 patients collected from our film archive. A population of 1001 patients seen at Hennepin County Medical Center was also studied. It was possible to subclassify this latter group with respect to race.


Using strict criteria, i.e., four or more levels involved, the overall prevalence of DISH in the male population over age 50 years was 25% and in the female population over age 50 years was 15%. This prevalence climbed to 28% in males over 80 years and to over 35% in males over age 70 years. In females over 80 years, the prevalence was found to be 26%. Although our population base was small, DISH was found to be less common in the black, Native-American and Asian populations. The prevalence of DISH was also found to be far lower in a similar white population with osteoporosis. The overall prevalence of DISH was higher than expected in a predominantly white population over age 50 years with a lesser incidence in the black, Native-American and Asian populations, suggesting a genetic origin of the condition.

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