The aim of the study was to assess the added value of synovial fluid (SF) centrifugation for microscopic monosodium urate (MSU) and calcium pyrophosphate (CPP) crystal detection in patients with arthritis. This is a prospective observational study using SF samples from joints of patients undergoing joint arthrocentesis. Two blinded observers assessed the SF smears by polarized light microscopy for the presence of crystals before as well as after centrifugation. SF samples were collected from 98 patients with arthritis. After exclusion, 87 samples were eligible for inclusion. Of each sample, 2 smears before and after centrifugation were prepared and microscopically examined, resulting in 348 smears per observer. Observer 1 identified MSU crystals in 18.4% and CPP in 9.2% of the smears before as well as after centrifugation. No extra MSU crystal-positive smears were identified after centrifugation. However, centrifugation yielded 4 additional CPP crystal-positive smears. Observer 2 identified MSU crystals in 15.5% and CPP crystals in 6.3% of the smears before as well as after centrifugation. Centrifugation yielded 2 additional MSU crystal-positive smears and 4 CPP crystal-positive smears. Monosodium urate crystals were well recognized without centrifugation. Centrifugation of SF had limited additional value for increasing the amount of MSU-positive smears. However, CPP crystals were identified in a higher number of smears after centrifugation than before. Therefore, centrifugation may be of additional value in selected patients with suspected calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease and to a lesser extent for gout.
- Crystal arthropathies
- Diagnostic tests
- EDTA and polarized microscopy
- Synovial fluid centrifugation
- Calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease