What are the hematologic findings consistent with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2019
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The CBC commonly demonstrates anemia of chronic disease and correlates with disease activity; it improves with successful therapy. Hypochromic anemia suggests blood loss, commonly from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (associated with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]). Anemia may also be related to disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy.

Thrombocytosis is common and is also associated with disease activity. Thrombocytopenia may be a rare adverse event of therapy and may occur in patients with Felty syndrome. Leukocytosis may occur but is usually mild. Leukopenia may be a consequence of therapy or a component of Felty syndrome, which may then respond to DMARD therapy.


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