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Rheumatology International

, Volume 18, Issue 5–6, pp 181–182 | Cite as

Is routine synovial fluid analysis necessary? Lessons and recommendations from an audit

  • B. Pal
  • J. Nash
  • B. Oppenheim
  • N. Dean
  • L. McFarlane
  • S. Maxwell
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

This audit of 408 synovial fluid samples, analysed for cell counts and crystals, revealed that crystals were present in only 25 samples (6.1%). Of these, in only three patients was the diagnosis uncertain and therefore the analysis helpful. Cell counts and types generally reflected known underlying diagnoses of inflammatory arthritis or osteoarthritis. Routine synovial fluid analysis does not contribute to diagnosis or management in established rheumatic disorders and should be performed only when the underlying cause is uncertain or in newly presenting patients. Major savings can be made by abandoning routine synovial fluid analysis.

Key words Synovial fluid Routine analysis Value of test in diagnosis and management 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Pal
    • 1
  • J. Nash
    • 1
  • B. Oppenheim
    • 1
  • N. Dean
    • 1
  • L. McFarlane
    • 2
  • S. Maxwell
    • 2
  1. 1.Withington Hospital, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, Room 17, Pavilion 10, Nell Lane, West Didsbury, M20 2LR, UKGB
  2. 2.Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, UKGB

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