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Quintessence Int 49 (2018), No. 3     7. Feb. 2018
Quintessence Int 49 (2018), No. 3  (07.02.2018)

Page 227-238, doi:10.3290/j.qi.a39746


Cross-sectional study on the prevalence of carotid artery calcifications, tonsilloliths, calcified submandibular lymph nodes, sialoliths of the submandibular gland, and idiopathic osteosclerosis using digital panoramic radiography in a Lower Austrian subpopulation
Sutter, Walter / Berger, Sebastian / Meier, Marius / Kropp, Alexander / Kielbassa, Andrej M. / Turhani, Dritan
Objective: Bone and soft tissue calcifications can often be visualized on panoramic radiographs, thus leading to presumptive diagnoses requiring further examinations. This cross-sectional study determined the prevalence of suspected carotid artery calcifications, tonsilloliths, calcified submandibular lymph nodes, sialoliths of the submandibular glands, and idiopathic osteosclerosis in a Lower Austrian subpopulation.
Method and Materials: Digital panoramic radiographs (DPR) taken from 1,042 subjects for other clinical purposes between the years 2013 and 2015 were evaluated, using a standardized template. Chi-square tests and Fisher's exact test were used to evaluate the relationship between the detected calcifications and patient age as well as sex.
Results: Radiographic data from 490 men and 552 women (mean age of 49.2 [range 21 to 87] years) were analyzed. Two hundred and twenty calcifications were recorded in 198 subjects (19.0%), of which 100 (50.5%) were female. The mean age of participants with calcifications was 55.8 [SD 14.1] years. Radiopaque structures included carotid artery calcifications (5.7%), tonsilloliths (5.7%), calcified submandibular lymph nodes (3.6%), sialoliths of the submandibular gland (0.9%), and idiopathic osteosclerosis (5.3%) as presumptive diagnoses. In total, 196 calcifications (89.1%) were recorded in patients older than 40 years; no gender-dependent relationship could be revealed. Multiple calcification types were detected in 20 patients (11 women, 9 men).
Conclusions: With a prevalence of 19.0% in the study population, calcifications observed on DPR are more spread than previously reported. Thus, with patients of increasing age, DPR should be regarded as an important tool for basic screening of suspicious calcifications necessitating further diagnostic assessments.