The predictive relevance of synovial fluid analysis and some other variables for the efficacy of intra-articular corticosteroid injections in 30 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and hydropsy in a knee joint was evaluated in a prospective study. At the onset of the study, the knee joints were aspirated and 30 mg triamcinolone hexacetonide injected intra-articularly. The circumferences and the tenderness scores of the knee joints were measured at onset, after two months, and at the end of the six months' follow up. Of the variables studied, synovial fluid C4, percentage of synovial fluid polymorphonuclear leucocytes, blood haemoglobin, and serum C3 correlated significantly with the decrease in knee joint circumference after two months, whereas only the percentage of synovial fluid polymorphonuclear leucocytes correlated significantly after six months. Between the patients with and without improvement in the tenderness scores of the knee joints, only serum IgM differed at the examination after two months; this was higher in patients whose scores showed no improvement.
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