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‘Carpal tunnel syndrome’ and ‘tennis elbow’ as prodromes for granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener’s granulomatosis)
  1. Christian Geier1 and
  2. Kelly Steed1,2
  1. 1 Division of Rheumatology, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Division of Rheumatology, James J Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kelly Steed, kds2158{at}


A 62-year-old man presented with excruciating joint pains, back stiffness and numbness of his hands and feet. Over the past 18 months, he had experienced similar episodes for which the diagnoses of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis had been made. Physical examination revealed polyarticular arthritis affecting the shoulders, wrists and right knee. Palpable purpura overlying the calves and ankles was present. Laboratory tests showed markedly elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein in the setting of negative blood and urine cultures. Rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies were negative. Chest CT demonstrated bilateral pulmonary infiltrates. A punch biopsy of the rash showed leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Anti-proteinase-3 titers returned strongly positive. A diagnosis of granulomatosis with polyangiitis was made. Treatment with high-dose steroids, followed by rituximab resulted in normalisation of inflammatory markers with subsequent resolution of joint pains, rash and pulmonary infiltrates and improvement of neuropathic symptoms.

  • vasculitis
  • back pain
  • peripheral nerve disease
  • rheumatology
  • achilles tendinitis
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  • Contributors CG performed the literature search and wrote the manuscript. He is the guarantor. KS reviewed and commented on the manuscript and managed the case.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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