First clinical evaluation of sagittal laser optical tomography for detection of synovitis in arthritic finger joints

A. K. Scheel, M. Backhaus, A. D. Klose, B. Moa-Anderson, U. J. Netz, K. G.A. Hermann, J. Beuthan, G. A. Müller, G. R. Burmester, A. H. Hielscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify classifiers in images obtained with sagittal laser optical tomography (SLOT) that can be used to distinguish between joints affected and not affected by synovitis. Methods: 78 SLOT images of proximal interphalangeal joints II-IV from 13 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were compared with ultrasound (US) images and clinical examination (CE). SLOT images showing the spatial distribution of scattering and absorption coefficients within the joint cavity were generated. The means and standard errors for seven different classifiers (operator score and six quantitative measurements) were determined from SLOT images using CE and US as diagnostic references. For classifiers showing significant differences between affected and non-affected joints, sensitivities and specificities for various cut off parameters were obtained by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Results: For five classifiers used to characterise SLOT images the mean between affected and unaffected joints was statistically significant using US as diagnostic reference, but statistically significant for only one classifier with CE as reference. In general, high absorption and scattering coefficients in and around the joint cavity are indicative of synovitis. ROC analysis showed that the minimal absorption classifier yields the largest area under the curve (0.777; sensitivity and specificity 0.705 each) with US as diagnostic reference. Conclusion: Classifiers in SLOT images have been identified that show statistically significant differences between joints with and without synovitis. It is possible to classify a joint as inflamed with SLOT, without the need for a reference measurement. Furthermore, SLOT based diagnosis of synovitis agrees better with US diagnosis than CE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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