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Radiologic imaging on par with histopathology in diagnosis of calciphylaxis

08 Aug 2017

More rapid diagnosis of calciphylaxis is possible with radiologic imaging when skin biopsy specimen is pending or not available, according to a recent study.

Currently, the gold standard for diagnosis of calciphylaxis is a skin biopsy specimen showing calcification of small-calibre arteries or arterioles, researchers said.

To compare diameters of calcified vessels seen in skin biopsy specimens and radiology images of patients with calciphylaxis, researchers conducted a retrospective study involving patients with known calciphylaxis from 2009 to 2016 at a community hospital who had both skin biopsy specimens and radiology images takes as part of their routine care.

In addition, vascular calcification was compared in skin biopsy specimens and radiology images. There were seven patients included in the study.

Of the patients, three had small-vessel calcification as fine as 0.1 to 0.3 mm on plain films, three had 0.1 to 0.2 mm by mammography, and one had 0.1 to 0.2 mm by computed tomography imaging, nearly as fine a resolution as on histopathology.

These results support a previous study, which found that radiology, used together with histopathological, clinical and laboratory data, can help in the diagnosis of calciphylaxis. [Int J Dermatol 2016;55:e275-9]

The current study, however, is limited by its single-centre design and small sample size, according to researchers.

A syndrome of vascular calcification, calciphylaxis frequently occurs in patients with end-stage renal disease on haemodialysis. It has a high mortality rate, which makes early diagnosis and treatment necessary. [Int J Dermatol 2016;55:e275-9]

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