The cervical spine in mutilant rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatol Int. 2001 Aug;20(6):225-8. doi: 10.1007/s002960100114.


The purpose of this study was to detect the frequency of inflammatory cervical spine changes and characteristic features such as resorption in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with arthritis mutilans (AM) hand deformity. The series included 23 patients with AM hand deformity who fulfilled the 1987 American Rheumatism Association criteria for RA. Cervical spine radiographs were evaluated for subluxations, atlantoaxial impaction (AAI), and apophyseal joint ankylosis. Assessment of the severity of inflammatory changes in the cervical spine was based on former radiographic criteria for operation. Twenty patients (87%) showed subluxations, AAI, or apophyseal joint ankylosis in the cervical spine. Anterior atlantoaxial subluxation (aAAS) was observed in nine (39%), AAI in 13 (57%), and apophyseal joint ankylosis in 12 (52%). Six (26%) had been operated on the cervical spine. Patients with AM hand deformity evinced frequent and severe inflammatory cervical spine changes often requiring operation. Resorptive change (AAI) in the upper cervical spine and ankylosis of apophyseal joints were the most characteristic abnormalities in these patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae*
  • Female
  • Hand Deformities, Acquired / complications*
  • Hand Deformities, Acquired / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spondylarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylarthritis / epidemiology*
  • Spondylarthritis / etiology*