Felty’s Syndrome

Felty's Syndrome
Felty's Syndrome

Overview Of Felty’s Syndrome

Felty’s syndrome is a disorder that includes rheumatoid arthritis, a swollen spleen, decreased white blood cell count, and repeated infections. It is rare.

Commonly Associated With

Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Causes Of Felty’s Syndrome

The cause of this syndrome is unknown. It is more common in people who have had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for a long time. People with this syndrome are at risk for infection because they have a low white blood cell count.

Symptoms Of Felty’s Syndrome

Symptoms include:

  • The general feeling of discomfort (malaise)
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness in leg or arm
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Ulcers in the skin
  • Joint swelling, stiffness, pain, and deformity
  • Recurrent infections
  • Red-eye with burning or discharge

Exams & Tests

A physical exam will show:

  • Swollen spleen
  • Joints that show signs of RA
  • Possibly swollen liver and lymph nodes
  • A complete blood count (CBC) with differential will show a low number of white blood cells called neutrophils. Nearly all people with Felty syndrome have a positive test for rheumatoid factor.
  • An abdominal ultrasound may confirm a swollen spleen.

Treatment Of Felty’s Syndrome

In most cases, people who have this syndrome are not getting recommended treatment for RA. They may need other medicines to suppress their immune system and reduce the activity of their RA.

Methotrexate may improve the low neutrophil count. The drug rituximab has been successful in people who do not respond to methotrexate.

Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) may raise the neutrophil count.

Some people benefit from the removal of the spleen (splenectomy).