The Rheumatology Service is a consultative service which provides adult patient care for a wide variety of autoimmune and musculoskeletal disorders. The Rheumatology Clinic participates in the care of patients with autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and vasculitis), osteoarthritis, soft tissue rheumatism (bursitis and tendinitis) and crystalline arthropathies (gout and pseudogout).
Patients seen for initial diagnosis require a history and physical exam followed by the appropriate diagnostic studies and the interpretation thereof. Arthrocentesis is of significant value in many cases and is performed and interpreted in the clinic by a staff rheumatologist. Patients are seen as needed for follow-up, education and treatment plan stabilization before being returned to their primary care provider for continued care.
The Rheumatology Service offers a wide variety of treatment modalities ranging from the use of oral corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, DMARD's (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), intra-articular and soft tissue corticosteroid injections, and therapeutic agents such as methotrexate and biologic agents.
Many rheumatologic illnesses impact multiple organ systems and vary in their severity and expression. Those patients being treated with outpatient immunosuppressive therapies require diligent monitoring as they are at increased risk for infection and the potential development of a neoplastic process. Although the majority of patients are managed by the rheumatologist and primary care provider on an outpatient basis, hospitalization due to severity of illness or for procedures such as joint replacement does occur. In many cases, the multisystem involvement requires evaluation and support from other services such as pulmonary, cardiology and nephrology.
All patients will be seen by the rheumatologist and appropriate follow-up appointments will be made so that patient care is not compromised.