A prospective survey of radiological bone and joint changes in primary biliary cirrhosis
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
A prospective survey of radiological bone and joint changes was undertaken in 42 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and 23 patients with alcoholic or cyptogenic cirrhosis who formed a control population. PBC patients were commonly found to have hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (38%), joint erosions (31%) and osteoporosis, these results being significantly different from the control group. Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy most frequently affected the first metacarpal and was rarely associated with finger clubbing or clinical symptoms. Joint erosions were most evident in the hands, often associated with a positive rheumatoid factor but only accompanied by symptomatic arthritis in four cases. Patients with PBC show a high prevalence of symptomless bone and joint changes which may become manifest clinically only as the disease progresses; radiography of the hands is recommended as a screening test for these changes.