MRI corroborates high rate of knee osteoarthritis in women

March 23, 2011
RheumatologyNetwork Staff

The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine Vol 28 No 4, Volume 28, Issue 4

The prevalence of moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis (OA) is high in middle-aged women. This high prevalence is corroborated by strong associations with abnormalities identified with the use of MRI in addition to radiography in patient assessment.

The prevalence of moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis (OA) is high in middle-aged women. This high prevalence is corroborated by strong associations with abnormalities identified with the use of MRI in addition to radiography in patient assessment.

Sowers and coworkers evaluated MRI scans of the knee in 363 middle-aged women from the Michigan Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation for the location and severity of OA-associated abnormalities. They related the findings to Kellgren-Lawrence OA severity scores from radiographs, self-reported knee pain, self-reported knee injury, perception of physical functioning, and physical performance measures to assess mobility.

The prevalence of radiographically defined knee OA was 18.1% at baseline and 62.4% at the 11-year follow-up visit; the prevalence of moderate to severe knee OA was 3.7% at baseline and 26.7% after 11 years. The prevalence of MRI-identified full-thickness cartilage defects in the medial, lateral, and patellofemoral compartments was 14.5%, 4.6%, and 26.2%, respectively. Synovitis and joint effusions were present in 24.7% and 70% of the knees, respectively; 21.7% of the knees had a complex or macerated meniscal tear.

The authors noted that MRI is being used increasingly to provide better visualization of bone, cartilage, and soft tissues as well as the patellar compartment.