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Overview of Crystal-Induced Arthritides

By

N. Lawrence Edwards

, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine

Last full review/revision Apr 2018| Content last modified Apr 2018
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Arthritis can result from intra-articular deposition of crystals:

  • Monosodium urate

  • Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate

  • Basic calcium phosphate (apatite)

  • Rarely, others such as calcium oxalate crystals

Accurate diagnosis requires synovial fluid analysis. Polarized light microscopy is used to specifically identify most crystals; basic calcium phosphate crystals are of ultramicroscopic size and require other methods. Crystals may be engulfed in WBCs or may be extracellular. The presence of crystals does not exclude the possibility of simultaneous infectious or other inflammatory forms of arthritis. Noninvasive identification of monosodium urate and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals is possible using ultrasonography, but currently few ultrasonographers have sufficient expertise to do this technique.

Crystal-induced arthritides include the following:

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NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
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