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Radiological study of cervical spine and hand in patients with rheumatoid arthritis of 15 years' duration: an assessment of the effects of corticosteroid treatment.
  1. J J Rasker,
  2. J A Cosh


    Radiological abnormalities in the cervical spine were assessed in detail in a group of 62 patients with rheumatoid arthritis of approximately 15 years' duration, of whom 33 had been treated with corticosteroids and 29 had not. The 10 criteria of damage described by Bland (1974), which include subluxation, correlated as a whole with the severity of the disease in general but not with the duration of corticosteroid treatment. Subluxation alone, whether assessed in the cervical spine as a whole or in the atlanto-axial joint alone, was less closely related to disease activity, was on average greater in patients treated with corticosteroids, and tended to increase in relation to the duration of treatment. Corticosteroid treatment thus tends to produce, over the course of years, a degree of subluxation in addition to that caused by the disease itself. Radiological signs of damage to the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints and carpal bones correlated with both the degree of damage and the degree of subluxation in the cervical spine as well as with corticosteroid treatment. Mutilans deformity at the MCP joints was associated with subluxation in the neck and with corticosteroid treatment.

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