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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Clinical Evidence Handbook
ABSTRACT: Joint injection of the elbow is a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool for the family physician. In this article, the injection procedures for the elbow joint, medial and lateral epicondylitis, and olecranon bursitis are reviewed. Persistent pain related to inflammatory conditions responds well to injection in the region. Indications for elbow joint injection include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroid injection is an accepted treatment option for medial and lateral epicondylitis. Olecranon bursa aspiration and injection are useful when that bursa is inflamed. The proper techniques, choice and quantity of pharmaceuticals, and appropriate follow-up essential for effective outcomes are discussed.
ABSTRACT: The shoulder is the site of multiple injuries and inflammatory conditions that lend themselves to diagnostic and therapeutic injection. Joint injection should be considered after other therapeutic interventions such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and activity-modification have been tried. Indications for glenohumeral joint injection include osteoarthritis, adhesive capsulitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. For the acromioclavicular joint, injection may be used for diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis and distal clavicular osteolysis. Subacromial injections are useful for a range of conditions including adhesive capsulitis, subdeltoid bursitis, impingement syndrome, and rotator cuff tendinosis. Scapulothoracic injections are reserved for inflammation of the involved bursa. Persistent pain related to inflammatory conditions of the long head of the biceps responds well to injection in the region. The proper technique, choice and quantity of pharmaceuticals, and appropriate follow-up are essential for effective outcomes.
ABSTRACT: Identifying the cause of polyarticular joint pain can be difficult because of the extensive differential diagnosis. A thorough history and a complete physical examination are essential. Six clinical factors are helpful in narrowing the possible causes: disease chronology, inflammation, distribution, extra-articular manifestations, disease course, and patient demographics. Patients with an inflammatory arthritis are more likely to have palpable synovitis and morning stiffness; if the condition is severe, they may have fever, weight loss, and fatigue. Viral infections, crystal-induced arthritis, and serum sickness reactions are common causes of acute, self-limited polyarthritis. Because chronic arthritides may present abruptly, they need to be considered in patients who present with acute polyarticular joint pain. Joint palpation can help to distinguish inflammatory synovitis from the bony hypertrophy and crepitus that typically occur with osteoarthritis. Extra-articular manifestations of rheumatologic disease may be helpful in arriving at a more specific diagnosis. Many classic rheumatologic laboratory tests are nonspecific. A complete blood count, urinalysis, and a metabolic panel may provide more useful diagnostic clues. Plain-film radiographs may demonstrate classic findings of specific rheumatologic diseases; however, radiographs can be normal or only show nonspecific changes early in the disease process.
ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of synovial tissue and a wide array of multisystem comorbidities. Prevalence is estimated to be 0.8 percent worldwide, with women twice as likely to develop the disease as men. Untreated, 20 to 30 percent of persons with rheumatoid arthritis become permanently work-disabled within two to three years of diagnosis. Genetic and environmental factors play a role in pathogenesis. Although laboratory testing and imaging studies can help confirm the diagnosis and track disease progress, rheumatoid arthritis primarily is a clinical diagnosis and no single laboratory test is diagnostic. Complications of rheumatoid arthritis may begin to develop within months of presentation; therefore, early referral to or consultation with a rheumatologist for initiation of treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs is recommended. Several promising new disease-modifying drugs recently have become available, including leflunomide, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, and anakinra. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and nonpharmacologic modalities also are useful. Patients who do not respond well to a single disease-modifying drug may be candidates for combination therapy. Rheumatoid arthritis is a lifelong disease, although patients can go into remission. Physicians must be aware of common comorbidities. Progression of rheumatoid arthritis is monitored according to American College of Rheumatology criteria based on changes in specific symptoms and laboratory findings. Predictors of poor outcomes in early stages of rheumatoid arthritis include low functional score early in the disease, lower socioeconomic status, early involvement of many joints, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein level at disease onset, positive rheumatoid factor, and early radiologic changes.
Predicting Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk in Adults with Undifferentiated Arthritis - Point-of-Care Guides
Deep Waters - Resident and Student Voice
Is Leflunomide as Safe and Effective in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis as Other DMARDs? - Cochrane for Clinicians
Are Selective COX-2 Inhibitors as Effective as NSAIDs in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis? - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries