Pseudogout (calcium deposit arthritis)

General or Other | Rheumatology | Pseudogout (calcium deposit arthritis) (Disease)


Pseudogout is also known by another name: calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease (CPPD), the basis of which is derived from the calcium deposits that collect in the joint. The deposits or crystals, as they are sometimes called, cause pain and inflammation in the joint. Pseudogout typically affects the large joints, such as the knees, wrists, and ankles. In general, it occurs with equal frequency in men and women.

Most often seen in older adults, pseudogout can also affect younger patients, especially those with diseases that put them at a greater risk of developing it, such as hemochromatosis, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, ochronosis, or Wilsons disease.

Causes and Risk factors

It is unclear what causes the crystals to form, but some speculation exists that an abnormality in the cartilage cells or connective tissue could be responsible for their development. Acute pain and fluid accumulation that leads to joint swelling are typical symptoms of pseudogout. Many patients report that joint motion is limited. Statistically speaking, in 50% of the cases, the patient will run a fever. Half of all the acute pseudogout attacks will involve a knee.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment of pseudogout is similar to the treatment of gout, except uric acid-lowering drugs are not prescribed. Symptoms are often relieved within 24 hours after treatment – using anti-inflammatory medications - has begun. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and inflammation, and prevent recurrent attacks that could lead to permanent joint damage. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors, including the persons age, type of other medicines he or she is taking, overall health, medical history, and the severity of the attack.