Diagnosis and prognosis of early rheumatoid arthritis, with special emphasis on laboratory analysis

Rudolf Mierau 1.  and Ekkehard Genth 2.
  • 1. Rheumaklinik Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • 2. Rheumaklinik Aachen, Aachen, Germany

Abstract

Diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is mainly based on clinical criteria of symmetric polyarthritis of the hands and feet, with morning stiffness lasting usually more than 1h. Autoantibodies typical for RA, i.e., rheumatoid factors and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide, and measurements of inflammation add more specific information, especially for early diagnosis, where clinical presentation may be oligosymptomatic involving only a few joints. These laboratory parameters are also relevant for prognosis of disease persistence, functional impairment and radiological progression.

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