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June 1995

Fibroblastic Rheumatism

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, and Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Kanzler); Dermatology Department, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group Inc, San Jose (Dr Dhillon); and Departments of Pathology and Dermatology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor (Dr Headington).

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(6):710-712. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690180086016

Background:  Fibroblastic rheumatism was first described in the French literature in 1980. Since that time, 11 other patients with this disorder have been identified in the literature, mostly from France. This is a unique syndrome characterized by the sudden onset of symmetric polyarthritis and cutaneous nodules ranging from 5 to 20 mm in diameter, with predilection for the upper and lower extremities. While the cutaneous findings resolve spontaneously after several months, permanent joint sequelae are common.

Observations:  We present the first two patients with fibroblastic rheumatism reported in the United States. The clinical features and histologic findings were identical to those of patients described in the European literature.

Conclusions:  Fibroblastic rheumatism is a relatively rare syndrome characterized by the association of multiple cutaneous nodules with polyarthritis. The clustering of cases in France may, in part, be attributable to increased recognition by clinicians owing to prevalence of reports in the European literature. Perhaps, as clinicians in the United States become familiar with this disorder, further cases will be diagnosed, and the pathogenesis of the disorder will be elucidated.(Arch Dermatol. 1995;131:710-712)

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