Rheumatology is one of the emerging and fastest growing super specialities of modern medicine. It deals with diseases of the musculoskeletal system as well as multi-system autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are those where the body produces antibodies against its own cells as it fails to recognise them as part of 'self'.
- Musculoskeletal medicine: Rheumatologists are medical specialists who are specially trained in the management of diseases of muscle, skeleton and joints.
- Multi-system autoimmune diseases: These are conditions where the immune system starts attacking the body’s own cells instead of the protecting them as it fails to recognise them as its own. Autoimmune diseases can involve only one system (for e.g. multiple sclerosis an autoimmune disease involving only the brain) or multiple systems (brain, heart, kidney, joints and skin as in SLE or 'lupus'). When a single system is involved, then it is dealt with by the respective specialists. For e.g. - Multiple sclerosis is dealt with by the neurologist. When multiple systems are involved, then it is the rheumatologist who is the primary consultant and refers to other specialties if needed.
Many (but not all) patients with multi-system autoimmune diseases have arthritis. Arthron is Latin for joint and '-itis' a suffix that denotes inflammation; 'arthritis' means joint swelling. It denotes a symptom which is found in several diseases. It does not refer to a particular disease. Rheumatologists deal with most diseases which cause arthritis.
Arthritis, seen in at least a hundred different illnesses, can occur in all ages from the elderly to young children and the range of pain can be mild to severe.
Department of Rheumatology
Columbia Asia is one of the few hospitals in Bangalore where full-time rheumatology services are offered.
The Rheumatology Department is capable of handling all kinds of serious rheumatological disorders like macrophage activation syndrome, SLE or 'lupus' nephritis, vascultis, etc. Multi-disciplinary integrated care is required for such patients and the same is available in Columbia Asia where the Rheumatology Department liaises with multi-disciplinary specialties such as nephrology, cardiology, infectious diseases, pulmonology, ophthalmology and neurology to provide the best possible treatment for each patient.
The department provides diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation not only for adults but our specialists are also highly well versed in the management of children with arthritis and rheumatologic disorders.
Every patient undergoes a detailed assessment with objective measurement of their disease using standardised, evidence-based measurement tools. The doctors follow internationally accepted treatment protocols in the care of all patients.
Rheumatologic disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondyltitis and spondyloarthritis are treated by internationally accepted and scientifically validated guidelines and recommendations. We offer patient specific treatment plans which are prepared in consultation with the patient, family and treating doctors.
Apart from serious inflammatory disorders, many minor soft tissue diseases like plantar fasciitis, epicondylitis (tennis elbow) are treated in the department.
Columbia Asia Rheumatology Department has contemporary diagnostic nail fold video capillaroscopy. Nail fold video capillaroscopy helps in early diagnosis of diseases such as scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) as well as idiopathic inflammatory myositis (dermatomyositis and polymyositis).
Our rheumatologists conduct diagnostic invasive procedures such as muscle biopsy which help to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis of idiopathic inflammatory myositis (dermatomyositis and polymyositis).
Patients suffering from a condition known as Sjogren’s syndrome are at a higher risk of developing a type of cancer known as lymphoma. A procedure known as minor salivary biopsy helps in the early diagnosis of Sjogren’s as well as in the determination of which Sjogren’s patients are at an increased risk of developing lymphoma. Minor salivary gland biopsy is performed by our rheumatologists in patients with Sjogren’s.
The department has in-house polarising microscopy for synovial examination which is conducted by consultants who are well trained in such procedures. Polarising microscopy of the synovial fluid is the 'gold standard' for the diagnosis of gout and pseudogout (calcium pyrophophate crystal arthritis).
Musculoskeletal ultrasound is one of the latest, evidence-based means for the early diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis. Our rheumatology consultants have been trained in the best institutes in Europe where the technique was pioneered.
Our consultants are skilled in procedures such as synovial fluid aspiration and intra-articular joint injections for the diagnosis and management of painful inflammatory joint conditions.
Combined with the use of musculoskeletal ultrasound, our consultants are able to perform joint aspiration or joint injections of many joints which are normally difficult to access. Also, with musculoskeletal ultrasound, the consultants (and patients) can watch real-time, the injections or medication reaching the joint and being correctly placed ensuring accuracy and better outcomes.
It is also one of the few rheumatology departments in the country to have a post of specialist rheumatology nurse. The nurse is responsible for providing one-on-one detailed counselling to the patients regarding diagnosis and treatment as well as clarifying doubts and queries between hospital visits.
- Paediatric rheumatology (childhood arthritis) clinic
- Early arthritis clinic
- Lupus clinic
- Ankylosing spondylitis clinic
- Scleroderma clinic
Treatments and Procedures
- Treatment and management of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and spondyloarthropathies
- Treatment for psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma
- Management of gout and pseudogout
- Treatment of polymyositis and polymyalgia rheumatica
- Treatment for fibromyalgia
- Intra-articular injections for all joints
- Use of biological DMARDS