The aim of this prospective study was to compare the metabolic activity of the knee joints of a group of patients with painful knees clinically (such as recurrent joint pain, joint instability, and functional limitations) consistent with osteoarthritis and those of another group of patients without such complaints, using [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG)-PET imaging.Methods
A total of 97 patients who participated in either painful joint prosthesis or diabetic foot research studies involving 18F-FDG-PET scans were asked to complete a knee pain questionnaire. The patients were asked whether they experienced pain in any joint, and if so, which joints were affected.Results
A total of 18 knee joints without prosthesis were reported to be painful. The maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of the middle joint space and lateral synovial tissue of these 18 knees were measured and compared with those of a set of patients with control asymptomatic knees. The average SUVmax of the middle part of the joint space in the painful knees was 1.35±0.59 compared with an average SUVmax value of 0.86±0.14 in the control group (P=0.0176). The average SUVmax of the synovium in the lateral part of the painful joints was 1.17±0.49 compared with 0.73±0.31 in the control group (P=0.0161).Conclusion
These data indicate that increased 18F-FDG uptake is associated with knee pain in osteoarthritis patients and that there is a positive relationship between the two parameters.