Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Polyarthritis, polyarteritis and hepatitis B.

An association between viral hepatitis and two rheumatic disease syndromes has been observed. Twenty-nine patients manifested a transient polyarthritis, sometimes associated with a rash (Group I). Ten patients were seen with a multisystem disease (Group II). Histologic evidence of arteritis or glomerulonephritis was present in seven of ten patients with multisystem disease. Liver tissue from 18 patients showed morphologic evidence of hepatitis with viral features in 9 of 10 patients in Group I and in 6 of 8 patients in Group II. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and/or antibody to HBsAg were detected in sera of all 39 patients. Abnormal liver functions were present in 36. Twelve Group I patients and 2 Group II patients became jaundiced. Rheumatoid factor was present in sera of seven patients in each group. The third component of complement (C3) was depressed in 13 patients in Group I and 7 patients in Group II. The fourth component of complement (C4) was decreased in 8 of 21 Group I and 3 of 7 Group II patients. Synovial fluid C3 was decreased in 2 of 11 Group I and 1 of 4 Group II patient's fluids. Articular inflammation in patients with transient polyarthritis responded in three to seven days to aspirin, acetominophen and/or bedrest alone and rashes disappeared spontaneously. Patients with multisystem disease generally had a prolonged illness and responded somewhat unpredictably to prednisone or a combination of prednisone and cyclophosphamide.

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