Musculoskeletal symptoms are frequent in cystic fibrosis (CF). Here the clinical features of 29 patients with CF who had significant arthropathy are described. Twelve had episodic arthritis (EA) characterised by repeated short attacks of severe, incapacitating polyarthritis, which in seven was associated with fever and erythema nodosum. Ten patients had hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy (HPOA). The onset of symptoms in the group with HPOA was usually later (mean age 20 years v 16 years for EA) and was associated with significantly worse lung function than in patients with CF, either without arthropathy or with EA. Seven patients had arthropathies which could not be classified as EA or HPOA.
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