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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-19

Rheumatological manifestations of hansen's disease

1 Department of Rheumatology, KGMU, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Medicine, KGMU, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Anupam Wakhlu
Department of Rheumatology, KGMU, Lucknow - 226 001, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_52_17

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Introduction: Hansen's disease (leprosy) most commonly presents with cutaneous and nerve involvement. Rheumatological manifestations occur commonly but are often under-recognized. Physicians and rheumatologists alike are often perplexed with the rheumatological manifestations, given that these may precede the diagnosis of leprosy or may suggest another disease, in addition to leprosy. We present our experience with patients of leprosy presenting with rheumatological manifestations. Methods: This was a retrospective study carried out in the Departments of Rheumatology and Medicine, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, a tertiary care hospital in North India. Those patients who had a confirmed diagnosis of leprosy were subsequently included. Demographic details and clinical presentations were documented. Results: Twenty-nine cases (19 males, mean age 38 ± 17.2 years) were included in the study. The mean duration of disease was 20.2 ± 18.4 months. Rheumatological manifestations seen included arthritis (n = 17), tenosynovitis (n = 5), swollen hands and feet syndrome (n = 6), painful swollen feet (n = 2), arthralgias (n = 3), and vasculitis (n = 1). The rheumatological diseases mimicked were rheumatoid arthritis (n = 10) and spondyloarthritis (n = 3), sarcoidosis (n = 2), relapsing polychondritis (n = 1), and vasculitis (n = 1). At some point in time, lepra reactions manifesting with arthritis, nodules, tenosynovitis and/or dactylitis were observed in 15 cases. Other classical clinical manifestations detected were paresthesia (n = 13) and anesthetic patches (n = 15). Thickened great auricular, ulnar and lateral popliteal nerve were seen in 20 cases. Five patients had pure neuritic leprosy with no cutaneous manifestations and had arthritis or tenosynovitis. Conclusion: Leprosy may mimic a number of common and uncommon rheumatological diseases, and these may be the presenting manifestation. Awareness and a high index of suspicion are required to arrive at a timely and accurate diagnosis.

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