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December 1963

Rheumatoid Arthritis of Cervical Spine

Author Affiliations


From the Rheumatism Research Unit, departments of medicine, surgery (orthopedics), and radiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(6):892-898. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860060116013

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis frequently have involvement of the cervical spine. The spectrum of clinical consequence ranges from no symptoms to severe neck pain, quadriparesis, or even death. The pathological changes include rheumatoid pannus and proliferating granuloma involving bone, ligaments, discs, muscles, and tendons of the cervical spine and skull.2,4,14 Radiological characteristics are gross cervical spine subluxations, narrow disc spaces, erosions, and osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine may occur without clinical or radiologic signs of the disease elsewhere.13

Present Study  This study is an analysis of 100 cases of definite or classic rheumatoid arthritis according to the American Rheumatism Association criteria.1 Clinical, radiologic, and serologic characteristics were determined with special emphasis on radiologic evidence of rheumatoid lesions of the cervical spine. Ten radiologic criteria for diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine were used (Table 1). Fig 1-3 illustrate examples of the criteria.All