Hospital-Based Rheumatology

A hospital-based rheumatologist has the special skills to:

  • Understand the cause of complex medical problems
  • Recognize complications of a rheumatic condition that may develop
  • Identify symptoms of a rheumatic disease that occur in a person being treated for another condition
  • Manage the treatment of person who is also under treatment for an unrelated rheumatic condition

A hospital-based rheumatologist may be called in when a hospital patient:

  • Develops unexplained fevers, joint pain or swelling, skin rashes or failing vital organs
  • Appears to be ill, but diagnostic tests for conditions (such as cancer or infection) are negative
  • Has arthritis (one or more painful and swollen joints) and is admitted to the hospital for treatment of another condition (For example, a pregnant woman with a rheumatic disease may need the expertise of both her obstetrician and a rheumatologist.)
  • Has a blood vessel disease (called vasculitis) that may cause a bleeding or clotting problem due to the special antibodies found in people with rheumatic diseases

A person with some types of chronic rheumatic conditions may need to be hospitalized for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A rheumatic condition that is affecting a vital organ (e.g., kidneys, lungs, heart or nervous system)
  • A bleeding disorder or vasculitis, which may be caused by lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis or severe complications of rheumatoid arthritis
  • An infection
  • Side effects of drugs that are being taken for a rheumatic condition
  • Pain management

A hospital rheumatologist may be called in by the patient, an internal medicine specialist, a family physician or another type of specialist (such as an obstetrician). Cedars-Sinai's rheumatologists have the experience and knowledge to quickly grasp these problems and determine the underlying causes.