Familial hypercholesterolaemia is characterised by a decreased removal of low density lipoproteins and premature coronary artery disease. Tendinous xanthomata are a hallmark of the disease. The affected joints may also be the sites of inflammation and pain. Arthropathy has been associated mainly with the homozygous form of familial hypercholesterolaemia, but it is also known to occur in the heterozygous form. We report on the articular manifestations in 73 patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. About 40% of these patients had at least one episode of articular symptoms. The observed articular manifestations may be classified into four types: Achilles pain (18%), Achilles tendinitis (11%), oligoarticular arthritis (7%), polyarticular or rheumatic fever-like arthritis (4%). It is concluded that in heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia articular manifestations are frequent, diverse, and may be the first symptom of this metabolic disorder.
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