Intra-articular pressure changes in rheumatoid and normal peripheral joints

K Gaffney, R B Williams, V A Jolliffe, D R Blake

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the intraarticular pressure (IAP) dynamics of a spectrum of joints in rheumatoid and normal subjects in order to determine whether a reperfusion event is likely to occur at these sites.

METHODS: IAP was measured in the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) (n = 8), wrist (n = 8), ankle (n = 4), and elbow joints (n = 4) of rheumatoid subjects, in addition to the MCP (n = 8), wrist (n = 6), and ankle joints (n = 1) of normal healthy controls, using the hand held portable 295-1 Intra-Compartmental Pressure Monitor System (Stryker, UK).

RESULTS: Resting IAP was positive in all rheumatoid joints, and subatmospheric or weakly atmospheric in normal subjects (p < 0.01). Exercise produced an increase in IAP in rheumatoid subjects only (p < 0.01). The addition of saline to normal joints mimicked the IAP changes seen in the rheumatoid group.

CONCLUSION: These observations suggest that increased resting IAP is a marker for chronic joint inflammation. The IAP increase seen in the rheumatoid group during exercise supports the concept of hypoxic reperfusion mediated joint injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-673
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ankle Joint/physiopathology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid/physiopathology
  • Elbow Joint/physiopathology
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joints/physiopathology
  • Male
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint/physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Reperfusion Injury/physiopathology
  • Wrist Joint/physiopathology

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