Primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy: clinical, radiologic, and scintigraphic characteristics

Arch Med Res. Mar-Apr 2001;32(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/s0188-4409(01)00251-x.


Background: Our aim was to establish clinical and imaging characteristics of primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (PHO).

Methods: A group of 76 patients (71 men and 5 women) with primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy was examined. Extensive history and status of the locomotor system were determined in all patients. Radiologic and scintigraphic examinations of the bones, thermography, capillaroscopy, gastroscopy, and histologic analysis were also performed.

Results: Family history was positive in all 55 patients (100%) summoned for a check-up. Finger clubbing of the hands and feet as well as positive Schamroth test were found in all patients, while hyperhydrosis was found in 65 (85.5%), seborrhea in 39 (51%), and involvement of the joints in 52 (68.5%) patients. Histologic analysis in 18 (23.7%) patients predominantly showed periarticular edema and moderate cellular activity. Periostosis of the long bones was also found in all patients, while scintigraphy, performed in 44 patients, was positive in 18 (33.5%) patients in the active phase of the disease. Thermography, performed in 10 patients, ranged from hypothermia to thermal amputation of feet and hands. Capillaroscopy of hands and feet in 47 (61.8%) patients showed changes in small blood vessels. Gastroscopy indicated abnormalities (ulcer and hypertrophic gastritis) in 21 patients (27.6%).

Conclusions: PHO has special clinical and radiographic manifestations (finger clubbing and periostosis of the long bones) that are associated with some minor manifestations. Development of the disease is gradual (to 20 years) and requires a special diagnostic assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthropathy, Primary Hypertrophic / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthropathy, Primary Hypertrophic / pathology*
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging