Towards a better assessment of calcinosis associated with certain cases of dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is accompanied, in a significant number of cases, and most often in the medium to long term, by para-articular calcifications (calcinosis). The pathophysiology of calcinosis remains poorly understood. American researchers at the NIH studied it quantitatively and qualitatively using whole-body CT scans:

  • 31 patients were included in this prospective study, including 14 adults with dermatomyositis and 17 younger patients with juvenile dermatomyositis,
  • several differential patterns of calcinosis were identified,
  • unusual/ectopic areas of calcinosis were found in the heart, pelvis and spermatic cord,
  • the Agatson score was used to interestingly quantify the phenomenon, albeit imperfectly.

This combined approach (whole-body CT scan and Agatson score) is more sensitive than a simple physical examination by the clinician.


Development of a computed tomography calcium scoring technique for assessing calcinosis distribution, pattern and burden in dermatomyositis. Cervantes BA, Gowda P, Rider LG et al. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2023 Jun.