PURPOSE: To investigate if the T2 * of Achilles tendons can discriminate between chronic Achilles tendinosis and healthy controls; to correlate with clinical score; to evaluate its short-term repeatability; and to estimate minimal detectable change.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty patients, with chronic mid-portion Achilles tendinosis, and 10 controls without history of Achilles tendon symptoms, were examined with a 3T MR scanner with a 3D flash ultrashort time to echo sequence with five different echo times. The sequence was run twice to test repeatability. The tendon border was delineated on axial slices at three different levels in the calculated T2 * maps. The clinical severity of Achilles tendinosis was measured by a VISA-A questionnaire.
RESULTS: There was a significant difference in mean T2 * between symptomatic and control tendons (P < 0.001). In patients with unilateral symptoms no significant difference in T2 * was found between symptomatic and contralateral asymptomatic tendons (P = 0.19). There was no significant correlation between clinical severity and T2 * (r = -0.28, P = 0.22). The short-term repeatability of T2 * showed a coefficient of variation of 18%, a least significant change of 50%, and the intraclass correlation coefficient had an average consistency of 0.99.
CONCLUSION: T2 * may help to differentiate between chronic Achilles tendinosis and healthy controls but was not associated with the clinical score. However, and notably, the reproducibility of the method was low and the number of patients was small.
2016. Vol. 43, no 6, 1417-1422 p.