The cause of Felty syndrome is unknown. It is more common in people who have had rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. People with this syndrome are at risk of infection because they have a low white blood cell count.
Exams and Tests
A physical examination will show:
- Swollen spleen
- Joints that show signs of rheumatoid arthritis
- Possibly swollen liver and lymph nodes
A complete blood count ( CBC) may show decreased number of white blood cells called neutrophils.
An abdominal ultrasound may confirm a swollen spleen.
Persons with this syndrome are usually already receiving treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. They may need other medicines to suppress their immune system.
Some people benefit from removal of the spleen (splenectomy).
Rheumatoid arthritis is likely to get worse.
You may have infections that keep returning.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of this disorder.
There is no known prevention.
Pinals RS. Felty's syndrome. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris Jr. ED, McInnes IB, Ruddy S, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2008: chap 68.
Reviewed By: Mark James Borigini, MD, Rheumatologist in the Washington, DC Metro area. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.