We have reviewed 21 adults referred to rheumatology clinic and considered to have generalised joint hypermobility by the criteria of Carter and Wilkinson (1964), modified by Beighton et al. (1973). They fell into two categories. 5 patients had a raised plasma viscosity (PV) and in each case a definite pathology was found to account for this, superimposed on hypermobile joints. The remaining 16 had a normal PV and this group was thought to represent the late natural history of hypermobility. 5 of these (aged 32 to 54 years) had no evidence of osteoarthrosis but the remaining 11 (aged 34 to 80 years) had widespread radiological osteoarthrosis. Synovial histology was obtained at arthroscopy in 6 of these patients and 4 (aged 60 to 75) had chondrocalcinosis. This previously undescribed finding may be the end result of hypermobile joints. Hypermobile patients with joint deformity (lax connective tissue), widespread synovial thickening (traumatic), and hot joint effusions (chondrocalcinosis) may mimic rheumatoid arthritis. They must be distinguished from patients who develop rheumatoid arthritis in hypermobile joints.
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