Graves’ orbitopathy (GO) is an autoimmune disease with mechanical impairment of orbital muscles and lacrimal gland dysfunction. The frequently used methods of assessing GO activity include Clinical Activity Score (CAS), CT, and MRI. These approaches are mainly associated with orbital muscles; however, there are not many studies that focus on the lacrimal gland inflammation of GO patients.
The aim of this study is to assess the usefulness of 99mTc-DTPA single-photon emission (SPE) CT/CT in evaluating the lacrimal gland inflammation in GO, as compared with other methods.
A retrospective analysis of 48 patients with active GO compared with 33 controls was conducted. All subjects underwent clinical–endocrinological analyses, CAS evaluation, CT scans, and SPECT/CT examination. Lacrimal gland dimensions were determined and analyzed.
The lacrimal glands in patients with GO were significantly larger in all measured dimensions (P < 0.001) on CT scans relative to those in controls. Increased lacrimal gland diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) uptake ratios (P < 0.001) were displayed in active GO patients compared to controls and were also correlated with thyrotropin receptor antibody levels. The cut-off value for discriminating active and inactive disease was calculated to be 1.735, with specificity of 82.6% and sensitivity of 74.2%. SPECT/CT uptake ratios and CAS values were positively correlated in all GO patients. SPECT/CT uptake ratios were also positively correlated with CT measurements including lacrimal gland volume and coronal width in GO patients.
These data indicated that lacrimal gland SPECT/CT images can serve as a good tool for assessing the inflammation and disease activity of GO.