ALLEN C. STEERE, M.D.; ROBERT T. SCHOEN, M.D.; ELISE TAYLOR, B.A.
To determine the clinical evolution of Lyme arthritis, 55 patients who did not receive antibiotic therapy for erythema chronicum migrans were followed longitudinally for a mean duration of 6 years. Of the 55 patients, 11 (20%) had no subsequent manifestations of Lyme disease. From 1 day to 8 weeks after disease onset, 10 of the patients (18%) began to have brief episodes of joint, periarticular, or musculoskeletal pain for as long as 6 years, but they never developed objective joint abnormalities. From 4 days to 2 years after disease onset, 28 (51%) had one episode or began to have intermittent attacks of frank arthritis, primarily in large joints; a few had polyarticular movement. The total number of these patients who continued to have recurrences decreased by 10% to 20% each year. The remaining 6 patients (11%) developed chronic synovitis later in the illness; of these, 2 (4%) had erosions, and 1 (2%), permanent joint disability. The spectrum of Lyme arthritis ranges from subjective joint pain, to intermittent attacks of arthritis, to chronic erosive disease.
STEERE AC, SCHOEN RT, TAYLOR E. The Clinical Evolution of Lyme Arthritis. Ann Intern Med. ;107:725–731. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-107-5-725
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(5):725-731.
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