Review of 34 cases of Felty's syndrome showed this to be a form of 'super' rheumatoid disease because of the severity of joint disease, the prominence of extra-articular features and the remarkable incidence of infection. The response to splenectomy in these 34 patients was shown by a return towards normal of peripheral blood abnormalities and a decrease in bone marrow granulopoiesis. Although some patients remained free of infection after splenectomy, others have continued to have infections despite the return of white blood cell counts to normal levels. Although splenectomy and subsequent increase in white blood cell levels may be beneficial, our experience suggests that other factors are important in the susceptibility to infection of Felty's syndrome patients. Moreover, we think that splenectomy may have been instrumental in the fatal infection of one of our patients.
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