Rheumatoid Factor (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Rheumatoid factor (RF) facts
- What is rheumatoid factor?
- For what is the rheumatoid factor test used?
- Can rheumatoid factor be present in a patient without rheumatoid arthritis?
- What significance does the rheumatoid factor hold for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
Can rheumatoid factor be present in a patient without rheumatoid arthritis?
Yes. Rheumatoid factor is also present in patients with other conditions, including other connective tissue diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjögren's syndrome), some infectious diseases (such as infectious hepatitis, syphilis, infectious mononucleosis, parasites, and tuberculosis), liver disease, and sarcoidosis. Rheumatoid factor can also sometimes be present in normal individuals without diseases. This occurs more frequently in people with family members who have rheumatoid arthritis.
What significance does the rheumatoid factor hold for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
High levels of rheumatoid factor are associated with a tendency toward more severe rheumatoid disease. This factor is also associated with a higher tendency to develop non-joint manifestations of rheumatoid disease, such as rheumatoid nodules and rheumatoid lung disease.
Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.
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