In January 2009, a new department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology (previously division of Department of Medicine since 1994) was created in the hospital. This department has a senior consultant with more than 15 years experience in the field and a consultant who has been trained in Mumbai and Europe. Department also has a trained Occupational Therapist. At present it runs two free dedicated OPDs in a week. The Rheumatology department is geared to diagnose and treat various disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), overlap connective tissue disorder, seronegative spondyloarthropathies (including psoriatic, reactive arthritis & ankylosing spondylitis), osteoarthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, rheumatic fever, vasculitides, idiopathic thrombocytopenic prupura etc. The patients are treated with disease modifying drugs such as methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, mycophenolate, cyclosporine, azathioprine. Patients are given pulse medication such as methylprednisolone and cyclophosphamide where indicated. Biological therapy such as Infliximab, Etanercept, abatacept, tociluzimab has been added to the armamentarium to treat early and resistant patients of rheumatoid arthritis and seronegative spondyloarthropathies. Anti CD-20 molecule rituximab is also being used in patients of rheumatoid arthritis, SLE and ITP.
Multidisciplinary care is given to all the patients. They are taught exercises by an efficient physiotherapy department, joint protection and joint utility manoeuvers by a trained occupational therapist. An orthopedic surgeon works closely with the department for correction of deformities and for joint replacement.
Recently two dedicated day care beds have been added in the department in which patients are admitted for drug infusions and day care procedures.
Besides rheumatology, this department also provides comprehensive care to HIV/AIDS patients as OPD and indoor cases with special emphasis on counseling. All complicated cases are managed for opportunistic infections and are provided antiretroviral treatment wherever needed. Awareness and training programmes are also conducted for medical and paramedical personnel
The department works in close association with the state of the art laboratories in carrying out the following investigations.
- ASO, CRP, Rheumatoid Factor (quantitative) and Anti CCP.
- Screening test for auto-antibodies by ANA (hep-2)
- Individual autoantibody profiling :
- dsDNA levels
- ANA profile
- Anti-mitochondrial antiobdy, ASMA
- ANCA (C & P)
- C3 & C4 assay
- HLA B27
- Antiplatelet antibodies
- HIV testing by different ELISA techniques (alternative method recommended by WHO)
- Absolute CD4, CD8 counts
- HIV viral load
The department has been represented in both national and international fora as faculty. It has many publications to its credit and is actively involved in teaching of postgraduate in medicine about Rheumatology, Immunology and HIV related disorders. It has conducted many CMEs to educate physicians about rheumatology problems. The department is in the process of acquiring a National Board of Examination seat in Rheumatology
Days & Timings
Every Monday / Thursday between 11 a.m. to 12 noon, Room No. F-11 & F-12.