American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting
American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting
January 20, 2015
1 min read

Study: Joint symptoms likely at diagnosis of hemochromatosis

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Joint symptoms in the hand, wrist or other location were highly prevalent at the time of diagnosis of hemochromatosis, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

Researchers sent questionnaires to the approximately 1,500 members of the U.K. Haemochromatosis Society in December 2013 to assess how hemochromatosis diagnosis was made. Details collected included patients’ symptoms, duration, prevalence and distribution of affected joints and the rheumatologist’s role.

Four hundred seventy individuals with hemochromatosis responded to the questionnaire. According to the responses, mean age of diagnosis was 56 years, and diagnoses were made after family member screening in 20% of the cases, after well-man/woman screening in 23% of the cases and a result of actual symptoms in 57% of the cases.

Joint pain, stiffness or swelling was reported by 88% of patients, and in 47%, joint pain preceded diagnosis by more than 5 years and in 78.5% during the year prior to diagnosis, according to the researchers.

Areas most commonly affected were the hands and wrist (66%), ankle or mid-foot (49%) and knee (44%). In hands, 60% of joint symptoms were present in the carpometacarpal joints. No formal diagnosis of arthritis was given to 45% of the patients, and 29% were diagnosed with osteoarthritis and with hemochromatosis arthropy in 11.5%. In men, 13% were diagnosed with Dupuytren’s disease compared with in 8% of women.

Venesection was only reported to be helpful in 5% of patients, whereas 20% said it made no impact and 51% reported new joints had become affected after treatment. Employment was negatively impacted in 21% of respondents, with 9% reporting job loss. – by Shirley Pulawski


Kiely P, et al. Paper #185. Presented at: American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting. Nov. 14-19, 2014; Boston.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.