Net-like pattern of calcification on plain soft-tissue radiographs in patients with calciphylaxis

Eugenia Shmidt, Naveen S. Murthy, John M. Knudsen, Roger H. Weenig, M. Amanda Jacobs, Autumn M. Starnes, Mark D.P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Calciphylaxis is a rare, life-threatening syndrome marked by vascular calcification and cutaneous necrosis. The role of radiographic imaging in assisting in diagnosis has not been established. Objective: To investigate the potential role of plain radiographic imaging in the diagnosis of calciphylaxis. Methods: We searched for cases of patients at our tertiary referral center with a diagnosis of calciphylaxis between Jan 1, 1996, and Dec 31, 2010. Two control patients receiving dialysis but without calciphylaxis were age- and sex-matched to each study patient. Plain radiographs were obtained from the date closest to diagnosis in patients with calciphylaxis and from matched controls at approximately the same dates. Two radiologists, masked as to cases and controls, read each image together. Size of calcified vessels, pattern and extent of calcifications, presence of net-like or other calcifications, and bone density/mineralization were recorded and analyzed. Results: Twenty-nine patients with calciphylaxis (mean age, 57 years; 21 [72%] women) were identified. Mean age at diagnosis was 57 years (range, 36-75 years). Compared with those of controls, plain radiographs of patients with calciphylaxis had more vascular calcifications, more small-vessel calcifications, and a netlike pattern of calcifications. A netlike pattern of calcifications had considerable strength of association with calciphylaxis (odds ratio, 9.4) and a specificity of nearly 90%. These findings were preserved even if only one image was used per patient. Limitations: This was a retrospective study. Conclusion: A netlike pattern of calcifications on plain radiographs was more common in patients with calciphylaxis and may aid in diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1301.e2
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • calcific uremic arteriolopathy
  • calcification
  • calciphylaxis
  • internal medicine
  • plain radiographs
  • systemic diseases
  • vascular medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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