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October 24, 1977

Arthropathy as the Major Clinical Indicator of Occult Iron Storage Disease

Author Affiliations

From the University of Toronto, Rheumatic Disease Unit and Department of Pathology at the Wellesley Hospital, Toronto. Dr M'Seffar is now with the Department of Medicine, Hospital Maisonneuve, Montreal. Dr Fox is now with the Department of Medicine and Biological Chemistry, Clinical Research Unit, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.

JAMA. 1977;238(17):1825-1828. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280180029019

Chronic arthritis was the only symptom that led to the detection of increased iron stores in four patients. In these persons, the serum iron was ordered at the time of initial examination, and ranged from 212 to 237 μg/dl with a transferrin saturation of 83% to 100%. Liver biopsy specimens showed hepatocyte iron deposition in each person, with definite cirrhosis in only one patient. These cases illustrate that a chronic arthropathy may be the first clinical manifestation of iron overload, and can lead to discovery of the disease in patients and their family members. Treatment may then be initiated before extensive tissue damage has occurred.

(JAMA 238:1825-1828, 1977)