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The emergency room in systemic rheumatic diseases


Complications of systemic rheumatic diseases frequently have protean manifestations and may present a diagnostic problem. Patients with connective tissue diseases and vasculitides may have dangerous or life threatening conditions, which must be recognised and treated promptly to prevent rapidly evolving morbidity and mortality. Knowledge of possible emergencies in the context of a defined rheumatic disease may aid in promoting a high index of suspicion and contribute significantly to the timely diagnosis of many potentially dangerous conditions. This review is written for the emergency room physician and discusses the early recognition of selected emergencies in the context of a defined rheumatic disease.

  • AH, alveolar haemorrhage
  • APLA, antiphospholipid antibodies
  • AS, ankylosing spondylitis
  • CA, cricoarytenoid arthritis
  • CAPS, catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome
  • CNS, central nervous system
  • CT, computed tomography
  • ER, emergency room
  • ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • GCA, giant cell (temporal) arteritis
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
  • RA, rheumatoid arthritis
  • RTA, renal tubular acidosis
  • SGS, subglottic stenosis
  • SjS, Sjogren’s syndrome
  • SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus
  • SSc, systemic sclerosis
  • TM, transverse myelitis
  • VBI, vertebro-basilar insufficiency
  • WG, Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • emergency
  • systemic rheumatic disease

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