The Modern Equine Vet
December 2023
Vol 13 Issue 12 2023
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News Notes

Which is Better for Imaging Palmar/Plantar Osteochondral Disease?

Computed technology (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are both good at detecting palmar/plantar osteochondral disease (POD), but they tended to underestimate their size, according to a recent study (Equine Vet J. 2023 Nov. 6 https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.14023).

U.K. Researchers compared the ability of cone-beam (standing, Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging) CT, fan-beam CT (Canon Medical Systems) and a low-field MRI (Hallmarq) in diagnosing POD lesions. MRI images were done with 2 different pulse settings.

The image interpreters, who were blinded to the identity of the horses, reviewed imaging details and measurements of POD lesions for the 3 types of imaging. They compared them with the gold standard—macroscopic pathology. In this cross-sectional study, they imaged 35 Thoroughbred cadaver limbs from 10 horses and saw 48 POD lesions over 70 condyles.

On macroscopic examination, POD lesions were detected in both medial and lateral condyles of 35 limbs; 5 limbs only had medial condyle lesions; 3 had lateral condyle lesions, and 7 limbs did not have lesions.

Forty-eight condyles (25 medial and 23 lateral) were found with focal subchondral bone discoloration, which were probable POD lesions. Twenty-two of them also had articular cartilage pathology, including partial- and full-thickness defects. Six had subchondral bone collapse with articular cartilage disruption.

Fan-beam and cone-beam CT identified 46 and 41 POD lesions, respectively, and the 2 different pulse settings of MRIs identified 23 and 18.

They found the sensitivity and specificity of the imaging compared with the gold standard were:

• 95.8% (95% CI 88%–99%) and 63.6% (95% CI  43%–81%) for fan-beam CT;
• 85.4% (95% CI  74%–94%) and 81.8% (95% CI  63%–94%) for cone-beam CT; and
• 69.0% (95% CI=54%–82%) and 71.4% (95% CI 46%–90%) for MRI.

The features seen on the cone-beam CT and fan-beam CT images were similar, and both systems were more sensitive than MRI. However, MRI may be better at detecting changes associated with POD pathological status or severity, the researchers found. MeV