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May 16, 1966

Acute Septic Arthritis Complicating Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Dr. Rimoin), and the Division of Medical Care and Hospitals, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health (Dr. Wennberg), Baltimore.; Reprint requests to 601 N Broadway, Baltimore 21205 (Dr. Rimoin).

JAMA. 1966;196(7):617-621. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100200057018

During a recent two-year period, five patients with chronic rheumatoid arthritis who had developed acute suppurative arthritis were encountered. Elderly patients with chronic debilitating arthritis and minor skin infections are most susceptible. Hemolytic Staphylococcus aureus is by far the most common microorganism involved. This often fatal complication may be easily overlooked as the clinical features simulate those of an acute, uncomplicated rheumatoid exacerbation.