What is included in the workup to evaluate rheumatoid arthritis (RA) of the cervical spine?

Updated: Aug 13, 2019
  • Author: Steven R Garfin, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Rheumatoid factor seropositivity has been correlated with more extensive cervical involvement. The use of rheumatoid factor as a predictor of neurologic involvement has not been established; therefore, it does not have a role in the surveillance of patients with rheumatoid arthritis with cervical involvement.

All patients with rheumatoid arthritis should have radiographic examination of the cervical spine because cervical involvement can remain asymptomatic. Imaging modalities include plain radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), polytomography, and computed tomography (CT) scanning. Although prediction of the onset of myelopathy in any particular patient is difficult, studies of large populations of patients have sought to establish parameters for predicting neurologic involvement via imaging studies. [13, 39, 40]


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