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Reduced lymphatic drainage observed in the hands of rheumatoid arthritis patients

Key clinical point: The hands of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) appear to have reduced lymphatic drainage, possibly demonstrating its contribution to the initiation and persistence of synovial inflammation.

Major finding: Seven days after injection of indocyanine green (ICG) into the web spaces of both hands, RA patients retained a significantly higher percentage of ICG than did controls based on near infrared imaging (NIR), despite a similar frequency of lymphatic vessel contractions. RA patients also had a significantly reduced length and number of lymphatic vessels filled with ICG.

Study details: A comparison of 8 RA patients with active disease and 13 controls who underwent near infrared‐indocyanine green (NIR‐ICG) imaging.

Disclosures: The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.


Bell RD et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020 May 18. doi: 10.1002/art.41311.