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Suction Biopsy of the Rectal Mucosa for Diagnosis of Arteritis in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Related Diseases

ROBERTO E. SCHNEIDER, M.D.; and WILLIAM O. DOBBINS III, M.D.
Ann Intern Med. 1968;68(3):561-568. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-68-3-561
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SUMMARY:

In order to investigate the usefulness of rectal biopsy in the diagnosis of arteritis, 1 to 3 rectal suction biopsies were obtained from 53 patients with a variety of collagen diseases. Six of 36 patients with well-established rheumatoid arthritis or other collagen diseases and with complete hospital records were found to have arteritis within the submucosa of rectal suction biopsies. Seventeen patients with incomplete records had no arteritis on biopsy, nor was arteritis seen in control biopsies obtained from 66 patients with ulcerative colitis and regional enteritis or in whom rectal biopsy was obtained for other diagnostic purposes. Five of 22 patients with rheumatoid arthritis had arteritis. Suction biopsy of the rectal mucosa is recommended as an easy, painless, and safe procedure for the histologic demonstration of vasculitis in suspect patients. However, the ultimate validity of this approach requires further study and confirmation.

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