Dr. Wluka is the recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council Scholarship
The determinants of change in tibial cartilage volume in osteoarthritic knees
Article first published online: 9 AUG 2002
Copyright © 2002 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis & Rheumatism
Volume 46, Issue 8, pages 2065–2072, August 2002
How to Cite
Wluka, A. E., Stuckey, S., Snaddon, J. and Cicuttini, F. M. (2002), The determinants of change in tibial cartilage volume in osteoarthritic knees. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 46: 2065–2072. doi: 10.1002/art.10460
- Issue published online: 9 AUG 2002
- Article first published online: 9 AUG 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 APR 2002
- Manuscript Received: 24 AUG 2001
- National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
- Alfred Research Trusts
The rate of change in osteoarthritic (OA) tibial articular cartilage and the factors that influence it are not known. We examined a cohort of subjects with OA to determine the change in articular knee cartilage volume over the course of 2 years and to identify factors which might influence such change and its rate.
One hundred twenty-three subjects with OA underwent baseline knee radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on their symptomatic knee. They were followed up 2 years later with a repeat MRI of the same knee. Knee cartilage volume was measured at baseline and at followup. Risk factors assessed at baseline were tested for their association with change in knee cartilage volume over time.
Mean ± SD total tibial articular cartilage decreased by 5.3 ± 5.2% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4.4%, 6.2%) per year. The annual percentages of loss of medial and lateral tibial cartilage were 4.7 ± 6.5% (95% CI 3.6%, 5.9%) and 5.3 ± 7.2% (95% CI 4.1%, 6.6%), respectively. Initial cartilage volume was the most significant determinant of loss of tibial cartilage in all compartments, while age was a significant determinant of lateral tibial cartilage loss, when possible confounders were accounted for.
In OA, tibial cartilage volume is lost at a rate of ∼5% per year. The main factor affecting cartilage loss is initial cartilage volume. Our results suggest that cartilage loss may be more rapid early in disease. Further study is required to determine whether the rate of cartilage loss in OA is steady or phasic, and to identify factors amenable to intervention to reduce cartilage loss.