Read this case study and answer the questions:

A 60 year old Hispanic female with a recent diagnosis ofRheumatoid Arthritis, brought to this tertiarycare referral center by her daughters who reported a 2 monthhistory of worsening cognitive difficulty and decreased arousalsince the patient fell from a chair.

Two and a half years ago the patient began to loseweight. She initially experienced a rapid loss of weightfrom 160 to 130 pounds, but has continued to lose weight to thepoint where she now weighs 116 pounds. About nine months ago, herdaughters noticed a raised bilateral rashon herfeet and lower extremities with residualhyperpigmentation of her feet and the distalportion of her legs. Six months prior to her current presentation,she developed joint pains and subcutaneousnodules.

Diagnostic evaluation at that time revealed a Rheumatoid Factortiter of 1:1260 and an ANA of 1:160, with an elevated ESR. She wasdiagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and has since been treated withregimens of non-steroidal medications and immunosuppresive therapy.At the time of evaluation her current regimen was Plaquenil andPrednisone.

Four months earlier she was noted by her Rheumatologist toexperience gait difficulties with "falling episodes". During thistime, she is also noted to have occasional fever and chills. Adiagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus was presumed secondary to steroidtherapy. Two months prior to presentation, she fell from a chairand has had rapid progressive decline in mental status since thattime.

Past Medical History: diet-controlled hyercholesterolemia;Family members deny prior diabetes, hypertension,seizure disorder,autoimmune disease or neurological disease.

Past Surgical History: hysterectomy in 1986 and a hernia repairin 1992.

Allergies: None

Medications: Prednisone 5 mg a day, Plaquenil 200 mg a day,Reglan, Ritalin, Paxil, and Premarin.

Social History: The patient lived alone in Corpus Christi, Texasuntil the onset of this illness. She had been divorced for 30 yearswith two adult daughters and two adult sons. She does not smoke orconsume alcoholic beverages.

Family History positive for Diabetes Mellitus-type II in one sonand a history of joint pains in one of the daughters; herex-husband is deceased secondary to gastric cancer

Physical Examination

B.P. B.P. 150/100 ; pulse 78 ; temperature 98.2 ; respirationswere regular at 20.

General: This is a thin Hispanic female lying in bed withoutsigns of respiratory compromise or signs of pain or discomfort. Sheis intermittently responsive to verbal stimuli.

HEENT: HEENT exam reveals anicteric sclera with no conjunctivalerythema. There are no oral mucosal lesions and the oropharynx isclear noting a palatine torus. The neck examination shows no JVD,no bruits, and no lymphadenopathy or thyromegaly.

Cardiovascular: Exam reveals a regular rhythm with normal rateand good S1 and S2. There is no significant murmur and no rub.

Chest: Exam reveals lung fields are clear to auscultation

Abdomen: Soft, non tender with bowel sounds present in all fourquadrants; there is no evidence of

hepatosplenomegaly; there is a PEG in place which is clean, dryand without evidence of induration, erythema, or exudate.

Skin: Examination reveals hyperpigmentation on the distalextremities and small subcutaneous nodules on the extensorsurfaces of the forearms.

Extremities: No signs of clubbing, cyanosis, or edema.

Neurological Examination

Mental Status

Attention: intermittently alert and responsive to verbalstimuli; she was not oriented to place or time; speech iswhispered, sparse, and slow; spontaneous speech is limited;comprehends simple commands but not complex commands, she couldperform simple repeats; a full MMSE score was not available but shewas reported to be unable to perform memory operations, write asentence, perform constructional tasks, and did not nameobjects.


Which lab results do you think are most significant in helpingdiagnose this patient's rheumatoid arthritis?

What do you make of the nodules on this patient's forearms?

Which symptoms in this patient go along with the diagnosis ofrheumatoid arthritis?

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Collen Von
Collen VonLv2
28 Sep 2019

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