Comparison of quantitative and semiquantitative indicators of joint space narrowing in subjects with knee osteoarthritis

Steven A. Mazzuca, K. D. Brandt, B. P. Katz, K. A. Lane, K. A. Buckwalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare quantitative estimates of change in joint space width (JSW) with semiquantitative ratings of the progression of joint space narrowing (JSN) with respect to sensitivity to change over time. Methods: 431 obese women 45 to 64 years old with unilateral radiographic knee osteoarthritis were randomised to 30 months' treatment with doxycycline 100 mg twice daily or placebo. Quantitative estimates of change in JSW in the medial tibiofemoral compartment from fluoroscopically assisted semiflexed AP radiographs were obtained at baseline and 16 and 30 months after randomisation. Radiographic JSN was rated (0-3 scale) in the same images by two readers using a standard atlas. Changes in overall severity of knee osteoarthritis were derived from gradings of conventional standing AP radiographs at baseline and 30 months, with blinding to treatment group and chronological order of examination. Results: Follow up radiographs were obtained from 381 subjects (88%) at 16 months and from 367 (85%) at 30 months. The treatment groups did not differ in the frequency of significant loss of JSW by dichotomous criteria (≥0.5 mm, ≥1.0 mm, ≥20%, or ≥50% of baseline JSW). Progressors and non-progressors, as defined by each of the dichotomous outcomes, differed significantly in mean value for quantitative measurement of change in JSW at 30 months (p≤0.001). Conclusions: Quantitative and semiquantitative indicators of progression of osteoarthritis in fluoroscopically standardised radiographs of osteoarthritic knees are highly related, but the effect of doxycycline on articular cartilage thickness was more easily detected with quantitative measurements of change in JSW than with semiquantitative ratings of JSN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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