Original Article

Rheumatology International

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 2061-2067

First online:

Erosive and inflammatory joint changes in hereditary hemochromatosis arthropathy detected by low-field magnetic resonance imaging

  • Katja FrenzenAffiliated withMartin-Luther-University Hospital Halle (Saale) Email author 
  • , Christoph SchäferAffiliated withMartin-Luther-University Hospital Halle (Saale)
  • , Gernot KeyßerAffiliated withMartin-Luther-University Hospital Halle (Saale)

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The aim of the article is to describe and characterize the hemochromatosis arthropathy of the hand by low-field MRI in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Forty-nine patients with hereditary hemochromatosis (37 with and twelve without arthropathy) were examined clinically and by low-field MRI of the hands. The examination showed heterogeneous degenerative and inflammatory joint changes such as erosions (in 84 % of all symptomatic patients), synovitis (77 %), bone marrow edema (38 %), subchondral cysts (30 %), tenosynovitis (30 %), joint space narrowing (73 %) and osteophytes (59 %) including hook-shaped osteophytes at MCP joints (32 %). Mild joint changes were also seen in a lower percentage of asymptomatic patients. This is the first larger study addressing the joint changes of the hand in hereditary hemochromatosis using low-field MRI. Our study emphasizes the inflammatory and destructive character of the arthropathy besides the well-known degenerative joint changes described in conventional X-ray. The impact of joint changes in asymptomatic patients deserves further investigation.


Hemochromatosis arthropathy Magnetic resonance imaging Hand Joints