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July 7, 1978

Chondrocalcinosis Simulating Ankylosing Spondylitis

Author Affiliations

From the Rheumatology Section, Department of Medicine, Rush Medical College, Chicago.

JAMA. 1978;240(1):55-56. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290010059029

CHONDROCALCINOSIS has been called the "great imposter"1 of rheumatic diseases, causing clinicians to misinterpret its multiple presentations as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and traumatic and neuropathic joint disease.2 We saw a patient with diffuse chondrocalcinosis of peripheral joints and calcification of intervertebral disks simulating ankylosing spondylitis.

Report of a Case  A 65-year-old woman was seen with a 20-year history of thoracolumbar backache gradually ascending to her neck, associated spinal deformity, and a 10-cm loss of height. She found it difficult to straighten her spine, and motion was accompanied by pain. Earlier, she had experienced a series of episodic painful swellings of her wrists and knees, lasting weeks to months. A left patellectomy had not been helpful, and at present, the knee was chronically painful and deformed.There was no history of venereal disease, psoriasis, or inflammatory bowel disease. Her father and one sister had also been incapacitated by