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Revised ARA Criteria for the Classification of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

For classification purposes, a patient is said to have RA if he or she has satisfied at least 4 of the following 7 criteria. Criteria 1 through 4 must have been present for at least 6 weeks. Patients with 2 clinical diagnoses are not excluded. Designation as classic, definite, or probable RA is not to be made.

  1. Morning stiffness: Morning stiffness in and around the joints, lasting at least 1 hour before maximal improvement.

  2. Arthritis of 3 or more joint areas: At least 3 joint areas simultaneously have had soft tissue swelling or fluid (not bony overgrowth alone) observed by a physician; the 14 possible joint areas are right or left proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints, metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, and metatarsophalangeal (MPT) joints.

  3. Arthritis of hand joints: At least I area swollen (as defined above) in a wrist, MCP or PIP joint.

  4. Symmetric arthritis: Simultaneous involvement of the same joint areas (see 2 above) on both sides of the body (bilateral involvement of PIPs, MCPs, or MTPs is acceptable without absolute symmetry).

  5. Rheumatoid nodules: Subcutaneous nodules, over bony prominences, or extensor surfaces, or in juxta-articular regions, observed by a physician.

  6. Serum rheumatoid factor: Demonstration of abnormal amounts of serum rheumatoid factor by any method for which the result has been positive in <5% of normal control subjects.

  7. Radiographic changes: Radiographic changes typical of RA on posteroanterior hand and wrist radiographs, which must include erosions or unequivocal bony decalcification localized to or most marked adjacent to the involved joints (osteoarthritis changes alone do not qualify).

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References:

  1. Clegg DO, Ward JR. Diagnostic criteria in rheumatoid arthritis. Scand J Rheumatol Suppl. 1987;65:3-11. [Medline]

  2. Arnett FC, Edworthy SM, Bloch DA, McShane DJ, Fries JF, Cooper NS, Healey LA, Kaplan SR, Liang MH, Luthra HS, et al. The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 1988 Mar;31(3):315-24. [Medline]

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Created: May 29, 2005
Last Modified: 10/24/2010

 
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