Felty's Syndrome

What is Felty's Syndrome?

Felty's Syndrome is a rare, inflammatory disorder which is primarily seen in older adults aged 40-60 and affecting more females than males. This condition is characterised by the inflammation of joints, an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) and a low white blood cell count (neutropenia). In addition, it is often accompanied by fatigue, fever, weight loss and an increased risk of developing infections. Though the cause of Felty's Syndrome is unknown, it is thought to be triggered by an autoimmune disorder or a complication of rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs & Symptoms of Felty's Syndrome

Common symptoms associated with Felty's Syndrome include:

  • Enlargement of the spleen, which can lead to a feeling of fullness and pain in the upper left abdomen
  • Joint inflammation, commonly in the hands, feet, wrists, and ankles
  • Low white blood cell count (neutropenia)
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained fever
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Anemia


Diagnosis of Felty's Syndrome typically begins by the patient reporting their ailments to their healthcare provider. Other tests may also be used to aide diagnosis including:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) to measure white blood cell and platelet counts
  • X-rays to detect joint inflammation
  • Abdominal ultrasound to measure spleen size
  • Bone marrow biopsy to examine bone marrow activity


Treatment of Felty's Syndrome typically consists of medications to reduce inflammation, manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of infection. These medications include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Immune suppressants to suppress the body's immune response
  • Antibiotics to prevent infections

In cases where medications are not effective, surgery may be recommended to remove the spleen as it tends to worsen the condition.