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J Rheumatol. 2001 Aug;28(8):1923-5.

Hemarthrosis as initial presentation of scurvy.

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  • 1Arthritis Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Vitamin C deficiency or scurvy is a disease now rarely seen except for certain populations at risk. When it occurs, diagnosis can be difficult as it can mimic other disorders. Its manifestations are primarily due to an abnormality in collagen formation causing bleeding in the skin, joints, muscles, or gastrointestinal tract and dystrophic hair deformities. We describe a case of scurvy in a 43-year-old man who presented with new onset hemarthrosis with no history of bleeding disorder. He was found to have perifollicular hyperpigmentation and corkscrew hairs, highly suggestive of scurvy. He admitted to completely eliminating fruits and vegetables from his diet and his serum vitamin C level was markedly decreased. Treatment with daily vitamin C supplement led to relief of symptoms and resolution of skin changes.

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