Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 49
Relapsing polychondritis and ulcerative colitis

1 Department of Gastroenterology, McGill University, Canada
2 Rheumatology Division, McGill University, Canada

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Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2010

How to cite this article:
Almadi MA, AlEnizi AT, Menard HA, Hilzenrat N. Relapsing polychondritis and ulcerative colitis. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2010;16:49

How to cite this URL:
Almadi MA, AlEnizi AT, Menard HA, Hilzenrat N. Relapsing polychondritis and ulcerative colitis. Saudi J Gastroenterol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Sep 28];16:49. Available from:


A 53-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted with 2 weeks of intensifying diffuse neck pain and a 40C fever despite the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics. Medical history included episodes of costochondritis, recurrent migraines and, for 20 years, ulcerative colitis (UC) that is now in remission. A complete blood count showed a hemoglobin of 116 g/L, 18,000 white blood cells/mm 3 and 816,000 platelets/mm 3 . She had elevated liver enzymes: Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase 116 U/L, alkaline phosphatase 212 U/L and alanine aminotransferase 178 U/L. The results of blood cultures, urinary sediment, kidney function, chest X-ray, C3, C4, rheumatoid factor, cryoglobulins, antineutrophil antibodies (ANA) and antinuclear cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) were all normal or negative. Head and neck CT and MRI showed one questionably abnormal looking disk. Anticollagen antibodies were not examined. After a week of her hospital stay, the neck pain of the patient had resolved, but she had developed painful erythematous swelling of the eyelids [Figure 1] and nose [Figure 2]. She admitted to a few similar but milder previous episodes that had spontaneously resolved. Gallium scan confirmed an active inflammatory process in those structures [Figure 3]. She declined colonoscopy. Relapsing polychondritis (RPC) was diagnosed and 30 mg of prednisone administered QD. She responded very well clinically, as CRP decreased from 160 to 3.7 mg/dl in the following week. After 18 months, our patient is without recurrence of RPC or UC without administration of steroids. RPC is a rare, debilitating autoimmune disease of cartilages. Its diagnosis is clinical [1] ; no specific test is available, its actiology is unknown [2] and it can be associated with systemic non-organ-specific connective tissue diseases, most often a vasculitis and, with organ-specific autoimmune diseases such as thyroid or inflammatory bowel diseases. The patient in our study is a rare example of the association of UC with RPC. Her RPC symptoms were atypical and mild, while her UC was judged to be clinically inactive. Nuclear medicine imaging provided a minimally invasive clue to correct diagnosis.

   References Top

1.McAdam LP, O'Hanlan MA, Bluestone R, Pearson CM. Relapsing polychondritis: Prospective study of 23 patients and a review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore) 1976;55:193-215.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
2.Kent PD, Michet CJ Jr, Luthra HS. Relapsing polychondritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2004;16:56-61.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  

Correspondence Address:
Majid A Almadi
Department of Gastroenterology, McGill University
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.58770

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

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