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Rheumatoid arthritis: A review of the cutaneous manifestations

      Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory arthritis with significant extra-articular manifestations. Of note are unique cutaneous manifestations that the dermatologist may encounter. This article will make the dermatologist more cognizant of these skin findings in patients with this systemic inflammatory disorder. It examines rheumatoid arthritis, focusing on the general nonspecific and disease-specific rheumatoid arthritic skin changes. Classic rheumatoid nodules, accelerated rheumatoid nodulosis, rheumatoid nodulosis, rheumatoid vasculitis, Felty syndrome, pyoderma gangrenosum, interstitial granulomatosus dermatitis with arthritis, palisaded neutrophilic and granulomatosis dermatitis, rheumatoid neutrophilic dermatitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and adult-onset Still disease are reviewed. Understanding the cutaneous expressions of rheumatoid arthritis may lead to early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and lower morbidity and mortality for the affected persons.

      Learning objective

      At the completion of this learning activity, participants should be able to describe rheumatoid arthritis in terms of its epidemiology, etiology, pathogenesis, and general and specific cutaneous manifestations.

      Abbreviations used:

      CIC (circulating immune complex), DMARD (disease-modifying antirheumatic drug), ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), HLA (human leukocyte antigen), JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), LCV (leukocytoclastic vasculitis), MTX (methotrexate), NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), PG (pyoderma gangrenosum), RA (rheumatoid arthritis), RF (rheumatoid factor), RV (rheumatoid vasculitis), SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus)
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