Felty’s syndrome is a complication of rheumatoid arthritis. Three conditions are present. These include an enlarged spleen, low white blood count and rheumatoid arthritis. The syndrome is not very common. Less than 1 percent of the patients are affected.
There are some symptoms of felty’s syndrome. People have more infections such as skin infections and pneumonia as compared to average people. The susceptibility to the infections increases and the attribution of this is done to the low white blood count. This is a characteristic of Felty’s syndrome. The complication of Felty’s syndrome increases if there are ulcers over the legs and skin.
The exact cause of Felty’s syndrome is not known. However, this is developed due to rheumatoid arthritis. There is a production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. Patients with Felty’s syndrome have an active bone marrow function. The storage of white cells is excessive in the spleen of a patient with Felty’s syndrome. This is very true in patients that have antibodies against white blood cells.
There is no single test for diagnosing Felty’s syndrome. The diagnosis is done on the basis of presence of 3 conditions. There are many patients with rheumatoid arthritis antibodies. Patients may not always require a treatment of Felty’s syndrome. The management of underlying rheumatoid arthritis is done in a standard fashion. There are many treatments that are used for patients with recurring infections, ulcer in legs and active arthritis. These include modifying drugs such as azathioprine and methotrexate.
Patients who have severe infectious diseases are benefited by weekly injections that have a stimulating factor. This is usually the granulocyte stimulating factor or the GSF. The amount of white blood cells is increased by it. The surgical removal of spleen can also be performed for various reasons. However, the evaluation is not yet done by long-term research studies.