Patrícia Nero

Hospital Egas Moniz, Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

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Publications (17)40.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis' synovitis affects mostly small hand and feet joints, although it may compromise any joint with a synovial lining. Cervical involvement occurs usually in longstanding disease in over half of these patients. We report the case of a 35-year old male patient who was referred to our outpatient clinic for a 2-year severe and disabling inflammatory neck pain, with incomplete response to intramuscular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and unremarkable cervical imaging studies. He also mentioned self-limited episodes of symmetric polyarthralgia involving hands, wrists, elbows, knees and feet, which started after his cervical complaints. On laboratorial workup, positive rheumatoid factor and anti-citrullinated peptide antibody and negative HLA-B27 were found. Cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging revealed atlantoaxial subluxation and odontoid process inflammatory pannus and erosions. Rheumatoid arthritis with cervical spine involvement as initial manifestation of disease was the definite diagnosis. The patient was started on methotrexate and prednisone and he was referred to neurosurgery outpatient clinic for cervical spine fixation.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 10/2013; · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal infections are rare but potentially life-threate - ning disorders. A high level of clinical suspicion is neces sary for rapid diagnosis and treatment initiation. The treatment combines both antibiotics and surgical intervention in the vast majority of cases. The authors report the case of a 84-year old female patient with a three week history of persistent lumbar back pain radiating to both thighs following a lower respiratory tract infection. She had lumbar spine tenderness but no neurological compromise. Her inflammatory markers were elevated and lumbar spine magnetic resonance imaging revealed L4-L5 spondylodiscitis with spinal epidural abscess. Blood cultures isolated Klebsiella pneumoniae and, since she was neurologically stable, conservative treatment with two-week intravenous gentamicin and eight-week intravenous ceftriaxone was initiated with positive inpatient and outpatient evolution.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 07/2012; 37(3):263. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To develop Portuguese evidence-based recommendations for pain management by pharmocotherapy in inflammatory arthritis. Methods: The Portuguese project was integrated in the multinational 3E Initiative (Evidence, Expertise, Exchange) 2010 where a total of 453 rheumatologists from 17 countries have participated. The clinical questions concerning pain were formulated and the Portuguese group added 2 more questions. A systematic literature search was performed in Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and 2008-2009 EULAR and ACR abstracts. The selected articles were systematically reviewed and the evidence was defined according to the Oxford Levels of Evidence. In each country a group of experts joined to discuss their national recommendations. In Portugal, the national meeting was held in October 2010, where 33 rheumatologists discussed and voted by Delphi method the national recommendations. Finally, the agreement among the rheumatologists and the potential impact on their clinical practice was assessed. Results: Thirteen national recommendations were formulated: pain measure scores; analgesic combination therapy; pharmacotherapy in preconception, pregnancy and lactation periods; pharmacotherapy according to comorbilities; safety of NSAIDs and/or paracetamol with methotrexate combination therapy; efficacy and safety of continuous/on-demand NSAIDs; opioids, paracetamol, corticosteroids, antidepressants, neuromodulators and muscle relaxants role and effectiveness; risk factors for the development of chronic pain and the role of topic analgesics. Conclusion: The portuguese recommendations for the pain management by pharmacotherapy in inflammatory arthritis were formulated according to the best evidence and supported by a panel of 63 rheumatologists. The differences between the national and international recommendations are reported in this article.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 04/2012; 37(2):160-174. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a longer life expectancy. The occurrence of irreversible damage has become a major concern. The present study assessed damage progression in patients with SLE over a 2-year period and identified baseline features associated with damage accrual. Two hundred and twenty-one patients that fulfilled criteria for SLE and had a follow-up longer than 6 months were enrolled. Demographic, clinical, and immunological data were collected at baseline. Accumulated organ damage was scored using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology damage index (SDI). Patients were prospectively followed and SDI assessment repeated at 2 years. At baseline 72 patients (33%) presented some irreversible damage, and after 2 years 53 had accrued new damage. The mean SDI for the whole cohort increased from 0.582 to 0.980. Damage progression was higher in ocular, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems. Older age [OR = 1.045; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.021-1.069; P = 0.03], presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (OR = 3.047; 95% CI 1.169-7.941; P = 0.02), steroid use (OR = 6.401; 95% CI 1.601-25.210; P = 0.008), azathioprine use (OR = 3.501; CI 1.224-10.012; P = 0.01), and hypertension (OR = 3.825; 95% CI 1.490-9.820; P = 0.005) were predictors of damage progression in multivariate analysis. Overall SDI increased over time, with some systems being affected more frequently. Demographic and clinical characteristics, co-morbidity, and treatment options may contribute to irreversible damage. It is necessary to determine whether the control of modifiable factors (e.g., hypertension and judicious use of medications) might prevent damage progression in SLE patients.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 09/2009; 1173:822-8. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to characterize the clinical and serological features of a large cohort of patients with antinuclear antibody (ANA) positive undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD). Consecutive patients with UCTD, followed up at the Rheumatology Clinic of the participating centers, were included. Data from these patients were obtained by clinical evaluation and chart review. All patients were diagnosed as having UCTD on basis of the following criteria: positive ANA plus at least one clinical feature of connective tissue disease, but not fulfilling classification criteria for any differentiated connective tissue disease. One hundred eighty-four patients were studied (female patients-94.5%; mean age at time of evaluation-47 years). The most prevalent manifestations were arthralgia (66%), arthritis (32%), Raynaud's phenomenon (30%), sicca symptoms (30%), and leukopenia (19%). The prevalence of ANA was 100%, anti-SSA 20%, anti-dsDNA 14%, and anti-SSB 7%. Patients with anti-dsDNA/anti-Sm, anticentromere/anti-Scl70, or anti-SSA/anti-SSB antibodies more frequently presented a set of manifestations close to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis, or Sjögren syndrome, respectively. We analyze a large cohort of UCTD. Seventy-two percent of these UCTD patients present lupus-, scleroderma-, or Sjögren-like features but do not fulfill classification criteria and mostly present a mild disease.
    Clinical Rheumatology 05/2009; 28(8):915-21. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is a rare systemic disease of unknown etiology characterized by inflammation of the muscle, skin and digestive tract, with variable outcome. The diagnostic criteria include proximal symmetrical muscular weakness, characteristic skin rashes, elevation of skeletal muscle enzymes and specific electromyographic and muscle biopsy abnormalities. Pulmonary and gastro-intestinal involvements, calcinosis and generalized edema usually indicate severe disease. Recent data suggest an association between the genotype -308 AA of the Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) gene and disease chronicity. We present a case of a 14 year-old female with JDM and generalized oedema which is a rare manifestation of the disease and it is associated to a poor outcome.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2009; 34(2A):276-80. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Eosinophilic fasciitis is a rare rheumatic condition characterized by inflammatory thickening of the skin and fascia, peripheral eosinophilia, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and hypergammaglobulinemia. Internal organ involvement is uncommon. It is often difficult to diagnose eosinophilic fasciitis and its course may be variable. Glucocorticoids are most commonly used in the treatment but in many cases they are ineffective, requiring combined immunosuppressive treatment. Several cases of eosinophilic fasciitis and serious haematological disorders such as immune thrombocytopenia, Hodgkin's disease and aplastic anaemia have been described. The authors report an atypical severe case of eosinophilic fasciitis complicated by aplastic anaemia non responsive to treatment.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2009; 34(1):120-6. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To verify if the response to TNFalpha inhibitors is influenced by the presence of IgM rheumatoid factor (RF), in patients with RA. In this study, the patients with the diagnosis of RA treated with TNFa inhibitors followed in our hospital were recruited. A protocol was applied including demographic, clinical and laboratory data, in order to calculate DAS 28. The presence/absence of IgM RF and associated therapies were record. Fifty-seven patients, 52 female, with a mean duration of anti-TNFa treatment of 30,9+/-15,9 months were studied. Twenty-four patients were being treated with infliximab, 17 with adalimumab and 16 with etanercept. Forty-one patients had IgM RF detectable in serum (RF positive group). In the RF positive group, the variation of DAS 28 was -1,75 +/- 1,53 vs -1,04 +/- 1,76 in the RF negative group (p=0,135). The mean duration of anti-TNFalpha treatment was similar in both groups (31,9+/-15,9 vs 29,5+/-16,16 months). Patients who were treated with methotrexate presented a higher variation of DAS 28 (-1,87 +/- 1,70 vs -0,80 +/- 1,09; p=0,041) and this variation was dose dependent (p=0,056). Despite needing a replication in a larger cohort, our results suggest that the presence of IgM RF in the serum did not interfere with the response to treatment with TNFalpha inhibitors.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2008; 33(4):430-4. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To clarify the influence of the HLA-DRB1 locus on the susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis and the production of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP) in a Portuguese population. 141 patients with rheumatoid arthritis fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology 1987 revised criteria for rheumatoid arthritis were compared with 150 healthy controls. Human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 locus genotyping was assessed by polymerase chain reaction reverse probing assays and sequence-specific primers. Anti-CCP antibodies were quantified by ELISA in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Frequencies between groups were compared by the two-sided Fisher's exact test and considered significant if p<0.05. The HLA-DRB1*04 and HLA-DRB1*10 groups were highly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (p<0.001 and p = 0.031, respectively). High titres of anti-CCP antibodies were largely associated with the presence of HLA-DRB1*04/10. The well-recognised susceptibility alleles to rheumatoid arthritis, HLA-DRB1*04, were associated with rheumatoid arthritis in Portuguese patients. The relatively rare DRB1*10 was also associated with rheumatoid arthritis, as was described previously in other southern European countries. Both groups were associated with high anti-CCP titres, reinforcing its relevance to disease onset.
    Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 03/2007; 66(2):246-8. · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess whether clinical measures of rheumatoid arthritis activity and severity were influenced by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) promoter genotype/haplotype markers. Each patient's disease activity was assessed by the disease activity score using 28 joint counts (DAS28) and functional capacity by the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score. Systemic manifestations, radiological damage evaluated by the Sharp/van der Heijde (SvdH) score, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug use, joint surgeries, and work disability were also assessed. The promoter region of the TNF-alpha gene, between nucleotides -1,318 and +49, was sequenced using an automated platform. Five hundred fifty-four patients were evaluated and genotyped for 10 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, but 5 of these markers were excluded due to failure to fall within Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium or to monomorphism. Patients with more than 10 years of disease duration (DD) presented significant associations between the -857 SNP and systemic manifestations, as well as joint surgeries. Associations were also found between the -308 SNP and work disability in patients with more than 2 years of DD and radiological damage in patients with less than 10 years of DD. A borderline effect was found between the -238 SNP and HAQ score and radiological damage in patients with 2 to 10 years of DD. An association was also found between haplotypes and the SvdH score for those with more than 10 years of DD. An association was found between some TNF-alpha promoter SNPs and systemic manifestations, radiological progression, HAQ score, work disability, and joint surgeries, particularly in some classes of DD and between haplotypes and radiological progression for those with more than 10 years of DD.
    Arthritis research & therapy 02/2007; 9(2):R37. · 4.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors report the case of a 48-years-old Caucasian women, with a previous diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus characterized by asthenia, fever, skin rash, alopecia, Raynaud's phenomenon, arthritis, pericardial effusion, interstitial pulmonary involvement, diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis with crescents and anemia. The presence of severe anemia refractory to high doses of glucocorticoids (1 mg/ /Kg/day), iron therapy and blood transfusions, associated with a low reticulocyte count determined the execution of a bone marrow aspiration, biopsy and immunophenotyping, which were compatible with the diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. The treatment with erythropoietin (5.000U 3x/week) and cyclophosphamide pulses (1 gr/m(2) month) induced complete regression of morphologic bone marrow changes and anemia. The main causes of anemia in lupus patients are discussed.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2007; 32(1):73-9. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterize systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in Portuguese patients and to identify differences in diseases expression related to sex and ethnicity. Retrospective cohort analysis of patients with SLE followed at five Rheumatology Departments between 1976 and 2006. Demographic data, diseases manifestations, medications used, co morbidity and damage scores were recorded. Five hundred forty four patients were studied, 93% female, 89% Caucasians, with an average age at disease diagnosis of 35 years. The most frequent clinical features were musculoskeletal (91%), cutaneous and mucous membrane (90%) and the hematological involvement (58%). Renal diseases and serositis occurred more often in males while myositis was more common in black patients. Immunological features included the presence of anti-nuclear antibodies in 99% of the patients, anti-DNA (76%) anti-SSA (33%), anti-SSB (20%), anti-RNP (26%), anti-Sm (22%), anticardiolipine (31%) and lupus anticoagulant (21%). Anti-SSA, anti-RNP, and anti-Sm antibodies were significantly more prevalent among black patients. The presence and severity of damage measured by SLICC/ACR was similar between sexes and ethnicities. In multivariate analyses diseases duration and the presence of hypertension showed a positive association, while educational and antimalarials were negatively associated with the presence of damage. In this cohort of Portuguese patients SLE present clinical features similar to those observed in other predominantly Caucasian populations, albeit a higher prevalence of anti-RNP and anti-Sm antibodies was observed. Some particular features were associated with male sex and African ethnicity. Some socio-demographic and clinical variables were associated with damage accrual.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2007; 32(2):153-61. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In clinical practice crystal identification in synovial fluid is made by polarized light microscopy and with some specific stainings. Nevertheless, sometimes we are unable to identify crystals by these means, either because they are too small or because they are widespread on the fluid. To compare the identification of crystals in synovial fluid from patients with non-infectious monoarthritis but no history of local trauma or articular disease, using polarized light and electronic microscopy. We analized synovial fluid samples from patients with non-infectious monoarthritis and no history of local trauma or articular disease. First we used a polarized light microscope and alizarin red staining. Later we used conventional transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy, in order to identify and characterize crystals. Fourty-five samples from 23 synovial fluids were analyzed. Under polarized light microscopy we identified crystals on 11 samples: 3 with calcium pyrophosphate crystals, 6 with calcium basic phosphate crystals and 2 with sodium monourate crystals. On the remaining 12 samples we were unable to identify crystals. Samples were then analyzed by conventional transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy confirming the presence of the previously identified crystals. On the remainig 12 samples we were able to identify calcium basic phosphate crystals. Microcrystals seem to be an universal finding in synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthritis. The prevention of their deposition in joints might contribute to stop joint damage in this disease.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2006; 31(1):75-81. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Portugal, 13 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported, in the period between 1999 and 2005, in 960 patients exposed to anti-TNFalpha treatment (1.35%), 8 females and 5 males. Mean age was 46.7 +/- 13.8 years. 9 patients had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in 639 exposed patients (1.4%), 3 had ankylosing spondylitis (AS), in 200 exposed patients (1.5%) and 1 had psoriatic arthritis (PA), in 101 exposed patients (1%). The anti-TNFa used was in 8 cases infliximab (in 456 patients exposed, 1.5%), in 4 adalimumab (in 171 patients exposed, 2.3%) and in 1 etanercept (in 333 exposed, 0.3%). Treatment with a biological agent was started 11.1 +/- 8.7 months (min 3 and max 50) before TB onset. Tuberculin skin test (TST) was performed in 9 out of the 13 patients (the other 4 had started biological therapy before 2002). In 3 cases the TST response was 0 mm, in 3 less than 10 mm, in one was 14 mm and in two 20 mm. In the 3 cases with a TST response superior to 10 mm, isoniazid treatment 300 mg/d was prescribed, during 9 months. The time between first symptoms and TB diagnosis was 2.6 +/- 2.9 months. TB involvement was pulmonary in 6 patients, lymph node disease in 2, peritoneal and pulmonary in 2, osteoarticular in one case, lymph node disease and splenic in another and miliar TB in the last case. One death was reported; all of the other cases had a good outcome after anti-TB treatment. In two cases (one treated with adalimumab and the other with infliximab), paradoxical response to treatment occurred. None of the patients has restarted biological therapy after TB treatment.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 01/2006; 31(3):247-53. · 0.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our objective was to (i) compare FIDIS Rheuma, a new multiplexed immunoassay designed for simultaneous detection of IgM class rheumatoid factors (RF) directed against Fc determinants of IgG from humans and animals, with agglutination and ELISA (conventional methods) and (ii) evaluate the clinical sensitivity and specificity of biological markers for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To do this, FIDIS technology was employed using the Luminex system. It consists of distinct color-coded microsphere sets, a flow cytometer, and digital signal processing hardware and software. Agglutination and ELISA tests were performed with commercial kits. The study included 134 samples from RA patients and 105 from healthy blood donors. For human specificity, we compared FIDIS with latex agglutination and ELISA. Relative sensitivities were 98.9% and 88.5% and specificities were 90.2% and 94.6%, respectively. For animal specificity, we compared FIDIS with Waaler-Rose and ELISA. The results were 84.9% and 71.9% for the sensitivities and 97.5% and 98.4% for the specificities, respectively. Detection of IgG anti-CCP by ELISA and IgG antikeratin by immunofluorescence was also determined in order to compare their clinical sensitivity and specificity with IgM-RF, according to the method used. The results were: IgG anti-CCP 72.3%, 97.2%; IgG antikeratin 36.6%, 100%; latex agglutination 66.4%, 97.2%; Waaler-Rose 55.9%, 96.3%; FIDIS human 73.9%, 92.1%; FIDIS animal 49.2%, 97.2%; ELISA human 93.2%, 95.5%; and ELISA animal 74.6%, 91.3%. The results showed the efficiency of FIDIS with analytical performance equivalent to the conventional methods, but having the advantage of giving quantitative results (IU/mL).
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2005; 1050:357-63. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 06/2005; 64(5):793-4. · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: B-cells play an important role not only in cellular but also in humoral immunity through differentiation into plasma cells and antibody production. B-cell depletion may, theoretically, change the course of systemic rheumatic diseases (SRD) in which self-reactive antibodies are part of the pathogenic pathway. In Rheumatology, anti-B-cell antibody Rituximab is currently licensed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, however there is growing evidence of its potential use in other SRD. The authors present a case series of eight patients in which Rituximab was used off-label including overlap syndrome Rhupus, systemic lupus erythematosus and Wegener's granulomatosis. In the end, a brief literature review about this subject is performed.
    Acta reumatologica portuguesa 38(4):290-294. · 0.70 Impact Factor