Reported here is the first case of classic rheumatoid arthritis emerging in the setting of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive viral hepatitis. Polyfocal arthritis and myalgia, lymphadenopathy and constitutional symptoms were the presenting manifestations of anicteric hepatitis in this 23 year old man. Smooth muscle antibodies, HBsAg and "rheumatoid" factor were demonstrated initially. The hepatocellular disease, biopsy-proved, resolved completely and without recurrence; clinically and serologlcally. Latex test positivity persisted, increasing in titer, and polyarthritis progressed to fulfill criteria for classic rheumatoid arthritis, with erosions on roentgenogram and characteristic synovial disease. After 60 months of follow-up, the rheumatold synovitis has continued to progress despite appropriate therapy. The arthritis of viral hepatitis and the significance of rheumatoid factor in association with hepatocellular disease are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas