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Challenges in the clinical diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis

Author

Clin Immunol. 2020 May;214:108390. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2020.108390.Epub 2020 Mar 18.

Mohamad Ali Rida 1Vinod Chandran 2

Author Information

1 Psoriatic Disease Program, Centre for Prognosis Studies in the Rheumatic Diseases, Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

2 Psoriatic Disease Program, Centre for Prognosis Studies in the Rheumatic Diseases, Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Electronic address: vinod.chandran@uhnresearch.ca.

Abstract

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic heterogeneous inflammatory musculoskeletal disease. The non-specific and often subtle manifestations make early diagnosis and subsequent treatment challenging. In the absence of diagnostic criteria and biomarkers, the diagnosis is often delayed leading to poor long-term outcomes. In addition, the differential diagnosis of a patient presenting with arthritis in the setting of skin psoriasis is wide due to symptom overlap with many other diseases. Peripheral arthritis, dactylitis, enthesitis and axial arthritis are the 4 domains of musculoskeletal involvement in PsA and careful examination of each domain by a rheumatologist is the first step for a correct diagnosis. Other extra-musculoskeletal features such as the presence of uveitis, inflammatory bowel disease, nail psoriasis and elevated acute phase reactants aid in the diagnosis of PsA. Screening patients with skin psoriasis using validated questionnaires might help in early diagnosis especially when coupled with imaging.