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Arthritis and Rheumatism

What Do Koebner and Pathergy Tests Indicate?

11/13/2007

Question:

I had a positive reaction to a Koebners test (doctor ran object across my skin and a red welt formed along its path). Now he wants to do a pathergy test (stick a needle in my skin to see if a reaction occurs). What is the significance of these two tests and does it mean I have rheumatic disease?

Answer:

The classic conditions associated with the Koebner phenomenon are psoriasis, lichen planus, and vitiligo. The classic condition associated with skin pathergy is Behçet's disease. Behçet's disease often warrants a consultation with a Rheumatologist. The others are often evaluated and managed by a primary care physician or dermatologist.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University