Clinical and Ultrasound Features Associated with the Presence or Absence of Calcification in Patients with Symptomatic Shoulders

Author(s): Alexandre Dumusc, Luisa Orlik, Alain Farron, Pascal Zufferey

Background: Acute and chronic shoulder symptoms can be due to calcifications but also to other lesions well detected by Ultrasound (US).

 Objective: The present study’s objectives were to determine whether, some demographic, clinical and ultrasound features were associated with the presence or absence of calcifications in symptomatic shoulders patients.

Methods: As part of this retrospective, transversal, case-control study of 490 patients, the 125 patients with calcifications were compared to 125 patients without calcification randomly extracted from the cohort. Subgroups were defined according to types and durations of symptoms. The frequency and types of associated lesions in the two groups, as well as the different US appearances of the calcifications were compared according to their different clinical presentations.

 Results: Calcific tendinitis was present in 26% of patients. Demographic characteristics or clinical manifestations, significantly associated with calcifications were: being a woman (p = 0.002), a shorter delay between symptoms and diagnosis (p = 0.007 and have acute symptoms. The presence of calcifications was associated with the absence of associated (42% vs. 6%, p = 0.0001) or less severe associated US lesions, particularly total rotator cuff rupture (5% vs. 18%, p = 0.001). Soft and cystic calcifications without shadowing were found more frequently in patients with hyperalgesic shoulders (p = 0.005) compared to chronic shoulders.

Conclusions: Only few demographic and clinical features were significantly more frequent in the presence of calcifications. US revealed fewer additional lesions when calcifications were present and, some US aspects of the calcification suggested the type of symptoms.

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