Chondrocalcinosis 1


A very rare genetic disorder characterized by progressive osteoarthritis which starts relatively early and is progressive. Joint damage is caused by deposits of crystals containing calcium.


* Joint pain * Osteoarthritis * Stiff joints


Studies indicate that osteoarthritis is acquired and probably results from a combination of metabolic, genetic, chemical, and mechanical factors. Secondary osteoarthritis usually follows an identifiable predisposing event — most commonly trauma, congenital deformity, or obesity — and leads to degenerative changes. Osteoarthritis may first appear between ages 30 and 40, and is present in almost everyone by age 70. Before age 55, it affects men and women equally, but after age 55 the incidence is higher in women.


Radiography has a large role to play in the diagnosis of chondrocalcinosis with radiographs, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasound and nuclear medicine all having a part. CT scans and MRIs show calcific masses (usually within the ligamentum flavum or joint capsule) however radiography is more successful. As with most conditions, chondrocalcinosis can present with similarity to other diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis or gout. Arthrocentesis, or removing synovial fluid from the affected joint, is perfomed to test the synovial fluid for the calcium pyrophosphate crystals that are present in CPDD


Treatment for asymptomatic chondrocalcinosis is not advised to prevent end-organ damage. For acute pseudogout, intra-articular corticosteroid injection, systemic corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or occasionally, high-dose colchicine. NSAIDs are generally administered in low doses to help prevent chondrocalcinosis, however in an acute attack is already occurring, higher doses are administered. Research into surgical removal of calcifications is underway, however this still remains an experimental procedure.