A simple non-invasive method for studying microvascular filtration in the non-articular tissues of the forearm is described. Rates of filtration under a standard hydrostatic pressure were measured in 20 normal female subjects and 44 female subjects with connective tissue disorders. An increased mean filtration rate was found in 14 subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. In 20 subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus and 10 subjects with scleroderma no such generalised increase in filtration rates was seen, but isolated cases had very high filtration rates, suggesting a more heterogeneous physiological disturbance. Increased filtration was not associated with the presence of oedema. This confirms doubts raised by other workers about the importance of filtration in the genesis of clinical oedema.
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