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Basic Calcium Phosphate Crystal Periarthritis Involving the Distal Interphalangeal Joints in a Patient with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Linett Martirossian, Andreea M. Bujor, Eugene Kissin

(Arthritis Center/Department of Rheumatology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2019; 20:1132-1137

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.916118

BACKGROUND: Increased serum levels of basic calcium phosphate (BCP) and calcium pyrophosphate (CPP) are found in patients on dialysis, following trauma, and are associated with connective tissue diseases (CTDs), including dermatomyositis, scleroderma, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The shoulder is the joint most commonly associated with BCP crystal periarthritis. A report is presented of a case of BCP crystal periarthritis involving the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints in a patient with SLE.
CASE REPORT: A 34-year-old woman with SLE presented with destructive arthritis of the DIP joints that developed during a two-year period, despite immunosuppressive therapy. Aspiration of synovial fluid from a DIP joint showed a lack of inflammatory cells, but the fluid was positive for the presence of crystals on alizarin red S histochemical staining.
CONCLUSIONS: A case of BCP crystal periarthritis is reported in a patient with SLE with chronic joint symptoms that were unresponsive to immunosuppressive therapy. This case has shown that chronic joint symptoms that are unresponsive to immunosuppressive therapy may be due to causes other than connective tissue disease (CTD) and that imaging studies and diagnostic workup that includes synovial fluid examination may support the diagnosis of BCP crystal periarthritis.

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