Pseudogout (cont.)

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What are risk factors for pseudogout?

Older age and a history of joint trauma (either due to an accident or surgery) are risk factors for pseudogout.

Additional risk factors for pseudogout include hyperparathyroidism, amyloidosis, gout, and degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis).

What are pseudogout symptoms and signs?

Pseudogout can result in arthritis of a number of joints. The most common joint affected is the knee, but it can also involve the wrists, shoulders, hips, and/or ankles. Pseudogout usually affects only one or a few joints at a time. The "attacks" of joint inflammation, characterized by acute joint swelling, warmth, stiffness, and pain, may last for days to weeks and can resolve spontaneously. The inflammation leads to loss of range of motion and function of the involved joint.

How does a doctor diagnose pseudogout?

Pseudogout is suggested when abnormal calcifications are seen in the cartilage of joints on X-rays. These calcifications are referred to as chondrocalcinosis and very suggestive of a diagnosis of pseudogout when there is also inflammation of the involved joint.

The diagnosis of pseudogout is ultimately made when fluid from a joint is extracted and is examined under a special microscope called a polarizing microscope. With this microscope, the calcium pyrophosphate crystals are clearly identified by their characteristic shape and color (medically term weakly positively birefringent rhomboid crystals).

The arthritis of pseudogout is common in older adults, particularly in the context of dehydration such as occurs with hospitalization or surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015

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