Negative RA factor with a diagnosis if RA

Question

I was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I have a high SED rate and c reactive protein level, but a negative RA factor. I have had symptoms of joint swelling and pain in my wrists. I also have pretty significant joint damage already (by X-ray and MRI). Can I still have RA with a negative RA factor? Thanks

Answer

You most likely do have rheumatoid arthritis.  In 2010, new diagnostic criteria were established.  A point system is used; with the points awarded for which joints are affected, elevated and ESR, positive rheumatoid factor and Anti-CCP.  People suspected of having RA do not have to have points in all areas.  By using this system, we believe we can diagnose and thereby treat people earlier in their disease than previously.

An important note to this system ; anyone displaying a joint erosion on x-ray, will automatically receive the RA diagnosis regardless of the number of points achieved.

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.