Arthritis and the gut


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Abstract

Mild arthritis/arthralgia is the most frequent extraintestinal manifestation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and has been reported to occur in 10–35° of patients in different studies. A classification of peripheral arthropathy in relation to inflammatory bowel disease has recently been proposed. Type 1: pauciarticular, asymmetrical, preferably large joints, and related to IBD activity. Type 2: polyarticular, symmetrical, preferably small joints, and occurring independently of IBD activity. While this classification requires the presence of synovitis, arthralgia without swelling or other objective signs are of equal frequency but are not covered by this system. In this issue of the journal, Thomas et al. report a prospective study, incorporating strict endoscopic and histological criteria for pouchitis, which elucidates the correlation to arthropathy. Both pouchitis and symptoms of the joints occurred more frequently in ulcerative colitis patients than in patients with familial polyposis. Surprisingly, arthropathy was not more frequent among patients with pouchitis than among patients without pouchitis in this study. Extraintestinal manifestations of the joints are thus not likely to be a reactive arthritis secondary to pouchitis, which would have been an obvious explanation. Preoperative occurrence of extraintestinal manifestations from the joints does not seem to be predictive for the outcome of an ileo-anal pouch anastomosis and especially development of pouchitis. The arthritic symptoms were generally mild and not disabling.

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