Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Felty syndrome



Felty syndrome is a rare disorder that involves rheumatoid arthritis, a swollen spleen, decreased white blood cell count, and repeated infections.


The cause of Felty syndrome is unknown. It is more common in people who have had rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. People with this syndrome are at risk of infection because they have a low white blood cell count.

  • General feeling of discomfort (malaise)
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Pale-looking skin
  • Joint swelling, stiffness, pain, and deformity
  • Recurrent infections
  • Eye burning or discharge
Signs and tests

A physical examination will show:

  • Swollen spleen
  • Joints that show signs of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Possibly swollen liver and lymph nodes

A complete blood count ( CBC) may show decreased number of white blood cells called neutrophils.

An abdominal ultrasound may confirm a swollen spleen.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Rheumatoid arthritis is likely to get worse.

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of this disorder.


You may have infections that keep returning.


Persons with this syndrome are usually already receiving treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. They may need other medicines to suppress their immune system.

Some people benefit from removal of the spleen (splenectomy).


There is no known prevention.


Pinals RS. Felty's syndrome. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris Jr. ED, McInnes IB, Ruddy S, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2008: chap 68.

Review Date: 5/31/2009
Reviewed By: Mark James Borigini, MD, Rheumatologist in the Washington, DC Metro area. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Home Page
Why Choose Us
Website Terms of Use

Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us

Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking

Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |