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Case management study: polyarthritis with fever.

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In most cases, a thorough initial evaluation will reveal the cause of fever and polyarthritis. However, in some patients the initial diagnosis may be unclear and, as time passes, the characteristic clinical patterns emerge. Recurrent attacks are suggestive of other conditions such as crystal-induced arthritis,
Lyme disease, and Mediterranean fever. In rheumatoid arthritis and Reiter’s syndrome, the fever resolves and the articular findings predominate with the passage of time. Similarly, Still’s
disease is initially diagnosed on the basis of clinical criteria, and later confirmed by the evolution of chronic polyarthritis. Diagnostic approaches for the evaluation of patients presenting with acute arthritis have been published and are readily available (2,8,9). The most reliable way to establish the diagnosis for a rheumatic
disease is thoughtful and thorough evaluation by an experienced clinician (3,10). Certain discriminating features and confirmatory tests can aid in the diagnosis of polyarthritis with fever (Tables 2 and 3).

Bull Rheum Dis. 1998 May;47(3):1-4. Case Reports

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