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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-26

Prevalence and patterns of peripheral neuropathy in patients of rheumatoid arthritis

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
2 Department of General Medicine, HIHT, Jolly Grant, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
3 Department of General Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nidhi Kaeley
Department of Emergency Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_260_18

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Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by involvement of multiple small and large joints with multisystem extra-articular manifestations. Peripheral neuropathy is known extra-articular manifestation of RA with the incidence of around 39.19% as per previous studies. Early diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy has been shown to improve both physical and functional disabilities of patients with RA. Objectives: The primary objective was to study prevalence and patterns of peripheral neuropathy in patients with RA. The secondary objective was to study demographic, clinical parameters, disease severity, and extra- articular manifestations in patients with RA with and without peripheral neuropathy. Materials and Methods: Consecutive patients of RA were recruited. Detailed clinical examination and electrophysiological tests were done to diagnose peripheral neuropathy. The demographic and clinical parameters were noted and tabulated. Student's t-test was used to analyze continuous variable, whereas Chi-square test was used for analysis of categorical variables. Results: Of 89 patients with RA, 75.28% (n = 67) patients had peripheral neuropathy electrophysiologically, whereas 20.89% (14 patients of 67) had superficial touch sensory loss on examination. Subclinical neuropathy was present in 50.74% (n = 34) of patients. Statistically significant association between the presence of neuropathy and age of the patients, disease duration, use of disease-modifying antirheumatoid drugs, disease severity (disease activity score-28), and presence of subcutaneous nodules (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Patients with RA, especially elderly patients, should undergo electrophysiological testing to rule out peripheral neuropathy. Electrophysiological study is a diagnostic and gold standard tool to diagnose subclinical neuropathy in patients with RA. Presence of peripheral neuropathy in these patients has been found to be significantly associated with deteriorating health status, pain scores, and presence of extra-articular manifestations.

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