RA, discussed at length in Chapter 1, is a symmetric autoimmune polyarticular arthritis. It also affects nonarticular structures. Patients may have vasculitis, pulmonary fibrosis, and inflammatory changes in ligaments, tendons, and fascia.
Of patients with RA, 25% to 30% have cricoarytenoid arthritis, with symptoms of hoarseness, globus, odynophagia, and pain with speaking or coughing. If the joints become fixed in an adducted position, the airway can be severely obstructed. Cricoarytenoid
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