Assessment of medial coronoid disease in 180 canine lame elbow joints: a sensitivity and specificity comparison of radiographic, computed tomographic and arthroscopic findings

Villamonte-Chevalier A, van Bree H, Broeckx B, Dingemanse W, Soler M, Van Ryssen B, Gielen I. BMC Vet Res. 2015 Sep 25; 11:2 43.

BACKGROUND: Diagnostic imaging is essential to assess the lame patient; lesions of the elbow joint have traditionally been evaluated radiographically, however computed tomography (CT) has been suggested as a useful technique to diagnose various elbow pathologies. The primary objective of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of CT to assess medial coronoid disease (MCD), using arthroscopy as gold standard. The secondary objective was to ascertain the radiographic sensitivity and specificity for MCD compared with CT.

METHODS: For this study 180 elbow joints were assessed, of which 141 had been examined with radiography, CT and arthroscopy; and 39 joints, had radiographic and CT assessment. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for CT and radiographic findings using available statistical software.

RESULTS: Sensitivity and specificity of CT using arthroscopy as gold standard resulted in high values for sensitivity (100 %) and specificity (93 %) for the assessment of MCD. For the radiographic evaluation, a sensitivity of 98 % and specificity of 64 - 69 % using CT as the technique of reference, were found.

DISCUSSION: These results suggest that in case of doubt during radiographic assessment, CT could be used as a non-invasive technique to assess the presence of MCD.

CONCLUSION: Based on the high sensitivity and specificity obtained in this study it has been considered that CT, rather than arthroscopy, is the preferred noninvasive technique to assess MCD lesions of the canine elbow joint.