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Delayed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in an elderly patient presenting with weakness and desolation
  1. Sebastian Stiebitz1,
  2. Tasslem von Streng2 and
  3. Moritz Strickler3
  1. 1Universitäre Altersmedizin Felix Platter, Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
  2. 2Psychiatriezentrum Münsingen, Munsingen, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3Geriatric Department, Solothurner Spitäler AG, Solothurn, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Sebastian Stiebitz; sebastian.stiebitz{at}


We describe the case of an 81-year-old man who presented with unspecific symptoms of desolation and general weakness, which led to a delayed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The patient had not received any previous treatment as he had not been in contact with medical services for several years prior to hospital admission. This enabled advanced disease manifestations to develop, including peripheral neuropathy with distal paraparesis, lethargy and weight loss. These signs and symptoms were later recognised as extra-articular manifestations of RA and classical features of RA were less pronounced. Following extensive diagnostic testing ruling out other possible causes for the presenting symptoms, an anti-inflammatory therapy with oral glucocorticoids and methotrexate was started.

  • general practice / family medicine
  • geriatric medicine
  • rheumatoid arthritis

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  • Contributors SS and TvS contributed equally in writing and editing of the manuscript. MS contributed in conception and critical revision of the manuscript.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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