Chapter

Diagnosis and clinical features of rheumatoid arthritis

Edited by Raashid Luqmani, Maarten Boers and Theodore Pincus

in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199556755
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199607334 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199556755.003.0003

Series: Oxford Rheumatology Library

Diagnosis and clinical features of rheumatoid arthritis

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• Patients with rheumatoid arthritis should be diagnosed as early as possible so that effective treatment can be initiated to prevent joint damage and comorbidities • Any swelling or persistent (>3 weeks) pain and stiffness in multiple joint areas should prompt referral to a rheumatologist • Typical joint patterns in RA include involvement of the metacarpophalangeal, metatarsophalangeal, wrist, and knee joints • The more difficult differential diagnosis is fibromyalgia, which also can co-exist in 20% of cases • Rheumatoid factor and ACPA testing are useful in making the diagnosis in patients with appropriate clinical features, and predicts poor radiological outcome, but >30% of patients are negative for these tests • More than 40% of patients have normal ESR and CRP.

Chapter.  3005 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Rheumatology

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