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June 13, 1980

Acute Monoarticular ArthritisA Diagnostic Approach

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Rheumatology, Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif. Dr Freed is now in private practice in Los Angeles. Dr Boyer is now in private practice in Salt Lake City.

JAMA. 1980;243(22):2314-2316. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300480034021

A group of adult patients with acute nontraumatic monoarticular arthritis was studied. Using only the traditional clinical tools of history, physical examination, joint x-ray films, and synovial fluid culture, Gram's stain, and examination for crystals, 74% of the diagnoses made were achieved either immediately or within two to three days. Overall, 64% of the cases were diagnosed during follow-up. Other tests were not found to be helpful in the acute situation and should be utilized only if the tests already mentioned fail to yield a diagnosis. The prognosis of patients with acute monoarthritis that remains undiagnosed after thorough evaluation is generally good.

(JAMA 243:2314-2316, 1980)