Department of Rheumatology – Early Arthritis Clinic
To serve patients in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies (ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and more). Early intervention has shown better chances for disease control, reduced joint damage and increased likelihood of obtaining remission. With this in mind, the Early Arthritis Clinic is intended to identify patients requiring immediate assessment to be evaluated within 1 to 2 weeks of primary care physician referral.
Do I need to be seen in the Early Arthritis Clinic (EAC)?
Signs of inflammatory arthritis involving joint pain, swelling and/or stiffness, particularly in the morning. Generally, these pains improve with movement after an hour or two, but worsen and at night. We also look for inflammatory back pain in younger patients under the age of 45 with the same pattern of pain. If these symptoms describe your arthritic complaints you should seek care of a physician as soon as possible.
Do I need a referral?
Yes. If you or your physician feel you may have a form of inflammatory arthritis, a referral to our Early Arthritis Clinic will direct you to immediate evaluation and treatment. Generally, patients are scheduled for evaluation within 1 to 2 weeks of reception of physician referral.
What can I expect at my initial consultation?
Your rheumatologist will take a thorough history and physical and evaluate your symptoms. Additional diagnostic tests will be ordered, including but not limited to X-Rays, MRI and/or lab work. A follow up will be scheduled to discuss and review the results and a treatment plan will be outlined.
What if it’s determined that I don’t have a form of arthritis?
If after your consultation with one of our rheumatologists, it is determined you do not have a form of arthritis, alternative recommendations will be provided and a new plan of action will be taken.
Both diagnostic and screening EKGs are performed in our office. EKGs are used in the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias, palpitations and valvular heart disease as well as many other cardiac diseases. This diagnostic test can be performed at the time of your appointment or by scheduling it along with other testing per your needs.
MRI is used in the diagnosis of disorders of soft tissue, ligaments, tendons, bursae and the synovium among other elements. It is generally used when conventional radiography cannot aid in an accurate diagnosis. With the exception of spinal MRI, we are capable of imaging any other joint in your body on the premises.
PFTs are used to measure the volume and expansion of the lungs as well as how oxygen makes it into the blood. It is used in the diagnosis of asthma, emphysema, COPD, and interstitial lung disease among other conditions.
We offer a diverse array of diagnostic ultrasound in our office used conventionally in diagnosing vascular, gastrointestinal, and cardiac ailments among other diseases. Additionally, our physicians utilize portable ultrasound in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. This added service is essential in providing information aiding in the early diagnosis of many systemic diseases and is extremely valuable as a quick, non-invasive means to follow some disorders.
X-Ray is commonly used to diagnose arthritis, bursitis, fractures, heart failure, bronchitis, pneumonia and many gastrointestinal disorders. All divisions of the practice are equipped with digital X-Ray for your convenience. We are capable of providing whatever conventional radiographic service needed at the time of your appointment.