The Natural Course of Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis in the Thoracic Spine of Adult Males

Kuperus, Jonneke S, Buckens, Constantinus F, Šprem, Jurica, Oner, F Cumhur, de Jong, Pim A, Verlaan, Jorrit-Jan


Journal of Rheumatology 45 (8), p. 1116-1123


OBJECTIVE: Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is characterized by flowing bony bridges on the right side of the spine. Knowledge of the development of these spinal bridges is limited. The current longitudinal computed tomography (CT) study was designed to bridge this gap.

METHODS: Chest CT scans from elderly males with 2 scans (interval ≥ 2.5 yrs) were retrospectively included. Using the Resnick criteria, a pre-DISH group and a definite DISH group were identified. A scoring system based on the completeness of a bone bridge (score 0-3), extent of fluency, and location of the new bone was created to evaluate the progression of bone formation.

RESULTS: In total, 145 of 1367 subjects were allocated to the DISH groups with a mean followup period of 5 years. Overall prevalence of a complete bone bridge increased in the pre-DISH group (11.3% to 31.0%) and in the definite DISH group (45.0% to 55.8%). The mean bridge score increased significantly in both the pre-DISH and definite DISH group (p < 0.001). The new bone gradually became more flowing and expanded circumferentially.

CONCLUSION: Over the mean course of 5 years, the new bone developed from incomplete, pointy bone bridges to more flowing complete bridges. This suggests an ongoing and measurable bone-forming process that continues to progress, also in established cases of DISH.