|Sternocostal and interchondral joints|
|Specialty||Family medicine, general practitioners, internal medicine, rheumatology, orthopedics|
|Symptoms||Chest pain, swelling and tenderness of the chest|
|Diagnostic method||Physical examination, the ruling out of other conditions, radiologic imaging|
|Differential diagnosis||Angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, pleurisy, pneumothorax, pulmonary embolism, neoplasm, aortic dissection, pneumonia, rib fracture, costochondritis, slipping rib syndrome, intercostal neuralgia, rheumatic disorders|
|Treatment||Analgesics, NSAIDs, manual therapy, heat therapy, nerve blocks, surgical intervention|
Tietze syndrome is a benign inflammation of one or more of the costal cartilages. It was first described in 1921 by German surgeon Alexander Tietze and was subsequently named after him. The condition is characterized by tenderness and painful swelling of the anterior (front) chest wall at the costochondral (rib to cartilage), sternocostal (cartilage to sternum), or sternoclavicular (clavicle to sternum) junctions. Tietze syndrome affects the true ribs and has a predilection for the 2nd and 3rd ribs, commonly affecting only a single joint.
In environments such as the emergency department, an estimated 20-50% of non-cardiac chest pain is due to a musculoskeletal cause.Despite musculoskeletal conditions such as Tietze syndrome being a common reason for visits to the emergency room, they are frequently misdiagnosed as angina pectoris, pleurisy, and other serious cardiopulmonary conditions due to similar presentation. Though Tietze syndrome can be misdiagnosed, life-threatening conditions with similar symptoms such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) should be ruled out prior to diagnosis of other conditions.
Tietze syndrome is often confused with costochondritis. Tietze syndrome is differentiated from costochondritis by swelling of the costal cartilages, which does not appear in costochondritis. Additionally, costochondritis affects the 2nd to 5th ribs while Tietze syndrome typically affects the 2nd or 3rd rib.
Tietze syndrome typically presents unilaterally at a single joint of the anterior chest wall, with 70% of patients having tenderness and swelling on only one side, usually at the 2nd or 3rd rib.Research has described the condition to be both sudden and gradual, varying by the individual. Pain and swelling from Tietze syndrome are typically chronic and intermittent and can last from a few days to several weeks.
The most common symptom of Tietze syndrome is pain, primarily in the chest, but can also radiate to the shoulder and arm.The pain has been described as aching, gripping, neuralgic, sharp, dull, and even described as "gas pains". The symptoms of Tietze syndrome have been reported to be exacerbated by sneezing, coughing, deep inhalation, and overall physical exertion. Tenderness and swelling of the affected joint are important symptoms of Tietze syndrome and differentiate the condition from costochondritis. It has also been suggested that discomfort can be further aggravated due to restricted shoulder and chest movement.
The true etiology of Tietze syndrome has not been established, though several theories have been proposed. One popular theory is based on observations that many patients begin developing symptoms following a respiratory infection and dry cough, with one study finding 51 out of 65 patients contracted Tietze syndrome after either a cough or respiratory infection.Thus, it has been hypothesized that the repetitive mild trauma of a severe cough from a respiratory infection may produce small tears in the ligament called microtrauma, causing Tietze syndrome. However, this theory is disputed as it does not account for symptoms such as the onset of attacks while at rest as well as the fact that swelling sometimes develops before a cough. The respiratory infection has also been observed accompanying rheumatoid arthritis which, coupled with leukocytosis, neutrophilia, c-reactive protein (CRP), and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), suggest an infectious and rheumatoid factor, though the evidence is conflicting. Many theories such as malnutrition, chest trauma, and tuberculosis, were thought to be among the potential causes but have since been disproven or left unsupported.
Diagnosis for Tietze syndrome is primarily a clinical one, though some studies suggest the use of radiologic imaging.Musculoskeletal conditions are estimated to account for 20-50% of non-cardiac related chest pain in the emergency department. Ruling out other conditions, especially potentially life-threatening ones such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and angina pectoris, is extremely important as they can present similarly to Tietze syndrome. These can usually be ruled out with diagnostic tools such as an electrocardiogram and a physical examination showing reproducible chest wall tenderness, . After eliminating other possible conditions, physical examination is considered the most accurate tool in diagnosing Tietze syndrome. Physical examination consists of gentle pressure to the chest wall with a single finger to identify the location of the discomfort. Swelling and tenderness upon palpation at one or more of the costochondral, sternocostal, or sternoclavicular joints, is a distinctive trait of Tietze syndrome and is considered a positive diagnosis when found.
There are some pathological features that can be observed with Tietze syndrome, including degeneration of the costal cartilage, increase in vascularity, and hypertrophic changes (enlarged cells).However, these features can only be identified from a biopsy. Some studies have begun exploring and defining the use of radiographic imaging for diagnosing Tietze syndrome. This includes computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scintigraphy, and ultrasound, though these are only case studies and the methods described have yet to be thoroughly investigated. Methods such as plain radiographs, better known as an x-ray, are helpful in the exclusion of other conditions, but not in the diagnosis of Tietze syndrome. Some researchers believe that ultrasound is superior to other available imaging methods, as it can visualize the increased volume, swelling, and structural changes of the costal cartilage.
The symptoms of Tietze syndrome can display as a wide variety of conditions, making it difficult to diagnose, especially to physicians unaware of the condition.Due to its presentation, Tietze syndrome can be misdiagnosed as a number of conditions, including myocardial infarction (heart attack), angina pectoris, and neoplasms.
Costochondritis is most commonly confused with Tietze syndrome, as they have similar symptoms and can both affect the costochondral and sternocostal joints. Costochondritis is considered a more common condition and is not associated with any swelling to the affected joints, which is the defining distinction between the two.Tietze syndrome commonly affects the 2nd or 3rd rib and typically occurs among a younger age group, while costochondritis affects the 2nd to 5th ribs and has been found to occur in older individuals, usually over the age of 40. In addition, ultrasound can diagnose Tietze syndrome, whereas costochondritis relies heavily on physical examination and medical history.
Another condition that can be confused for Tietze syndrome and costochondritis is slipping rib syndrome (SRS). All three conditions are associated with chest pain as well as inflammation of the costal cartilage.Unlike both costochondritis and Tietze syndrome, which affect some of the true ribs (1st to 7th), SRS affects the false ribs (8th to 10th). SRS is characterized by the partial dislocation, or subluxation, of the joints between the costal cartilages. This causes inflammation, irritated intercostal nerves, and straining of the intercostal muscles. SRS can cause abdominal and back pain, which costochondritis does not. Tietze syndrome and SRS can both present with radiating pain to the shoulder and arm, and both conditions can be diagnosed with ultrasound, though SRS requires a more complex dynamic ultrasound.
The vast differential diagnosis also includes:
Tietze syndrome is considered to be a self-limiting condition that usually resolves within a few months with rest.Management for Tietze syndrome usually consists of analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and naproxen. Other methods of management include manual therapy and local heat application. These are intended to relieve pain and are not expected to treat or cure Tietze syndrome as the condition is expected to resolve on its own.
A nerve block can be utilized in cases where symptom management is not satisfactory in relieving pain.This is usually a nerve-blocking injection that consists of a combination of steroids such as hydrocortisone, and anesthetics such as lidocaine and procaine, which is typically administered under ultrasound guidance. One study used a combination of triamcinolone hexacetonide and 2% lidocaine in 9 patients and after a week, found an average 82% decrease in size of the affected costal cartilage when assessing with ultrasound as well as a significant improvement of symptoms clinically. However, the long-term effectiveness of the injection is disputed, with multiple researchers describing recurrence of symptoms and repetitive injections.
In refractory cases of Tietze syndrome, where the condition is resistant to other conservative treatment options, surgery is considered.Surgery is uncommon for cases of Tietze syndrome, as many describe Tietze syndrome as manageable under less invasive options. The use of surgery in this context refers to the resection of the affected costal cartilages and some of the surrounding areas. Some surgeons have resected cartilage matching the symptoms of Tietze syndrome under the assumption the cartilage was tubercular. One study describes a case in which surgeons resected a large amount of cartilage, including minutely hypertrophied tissue, as a previous resection failed to relieve symptoms which is believed to be due to improperly resected margins. There is limited literature on surgical treatment of this disease, and overall research on the treatment of severe, chronic forms of Tietze syndrome.
Tietze syndrome was named after and first described in 1921 by German surgeon Alexander Tietze.Tietze first cited 4 cases in Germany of painful swelling where he originally believed the condition was as a result of tuberculosis or wartime malnutrition.
Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected joints. In some types of arthritis, other organs are also affected. Onset can be gradual or sudden.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of degenerative joint disease that results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone that affects 1 in 7 US adults. It is believed to be the fourth leading cause of disability in the world. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Usually the symptoms progress slowly over years. Initially they may occur only after exercise but can become constant over time. Other symptoms may include joint swelling, decreased range of motion, and, when the back is affected, weakness or numbness of the arms and legs. The most commonly involved joints are the two near the ends of the fingers and the joint at the base of the thumbs; the knee and hip joints; and the joints of the neck and lower back. Joints on one side of the body are often more affected than those on the other. The symptoms can interfere with work and normal daily activities. Unlike some other types of arthritis, only the joints, not internal organs, are affected.
Raynaud syndrome, also known as Raynaud's phenomenon, eponymously named after the physician Auguste Gabriel Maurice Raynaud, who first described it in his doctoral thesis in 1862, is a medical condition in which the spasm of small arteries causes episodes of reduced blood flow to end arterioles. Typically, the fingers, and less commonly, the toes, are involved. Rarely, the nose, ears, or lips are affected. The episodes classically result in the affected part turning white and then blue. Often, numbness or pain occurs. As blood flow returns, the area turns red and burns. The episodes typically last minutes but can last several hours.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common, chronic rheumatic disease of childhood, affecting approximately one per 1,000 children. Juvenile, in this context, refers to disease onset before 16 years of age, while idiopathic refers to a condition with no defined cause, and arthritis is inflammation within the joint.
A Baker's cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a type of fluid collection behind the knee. Often there are no symptoms. If symptoms do occur these may include swelling and pain behind the knee, or knee stiffness. If the cyst breaks open, pain may significantly increase with swelling of the calf. Rarely complications such as deep vein thrombosis, peripheral neuropathy, ischemia, or compartment syndrome may occur.
Costochondritis, also known as chest wall pain syndrome or costosternal syndrome, is a benign inflammation of the upper costochondral and sternocostal joints. 90% of patients are affected in multiple ribs on a single side, typically at the 2nd to 5th ribs. The condition is thought to be caused by repetitive minor trauma, known as microtrauma, and in rare cases can be caused by an infectious factor. Chest pain is considered a symptom of a medical emergency, and one study found costochondritis was responsible for 30% of patients with chest pain in an emergency department setting.
Chondromalacia patellae is an inflammation of the underside of the patella and softening of the cartilage.
Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystal deposition disease, also known as pseudogout and pyrophosphate arthropathy, is a rheumatologic disease which is thought to be secondary to abnormal accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals within joint soft tissues. The knee joint is most commonly affected.
Relapsing polychondritis is a multi-systemic condition characterized by repeated episodes of inflammation and deterioration of cartilage. The often painful disease can cause joint deformity and be life-threatening if the respiratory tract, heart valves, or blood vessels are affected. The exact mechanism is poorly understood, but it is thought to be related to an immune-mediated attack on particular proteins that are abundant in cartilage.
Synovitis is the medical term for inflammation of the synovial membrane. This membrane lines joints that possess cavities, known as synovial joints. The condition is usually painful, particularly when the joint is moved. The joint usually swells due to synovial fluid collection.
Reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome, is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body (cross-reactivity). Coming into contact with bacteria and developing an infection can trigger the disease. By the time the patient presents with symptoms, often the "trigger" infection has been cured or is in remission in chronic cases, thus making determination of the initial cause difficult.
The costal cartilages are bars of hyaline cartilage that serve to prolong the ribs forward and contribute to the elasticity of the walls of the thorax. Costal cartilage is only found at the anterior ends of the ribs, providing medial extension.
Palindromic rheumatism (PR) is a syndrome characterised by recurrent, self-resolving inflammatory attacks in and around the joints, consists of arthritis or periarticular soft tissue inflammation. The course is often acute onset, with sudden and rapidly developing attacks or flares. There is pain, redness, swelling, and disability of one or multiple joints. The interval between recurrent palindromic attacks and the length of an attack is extremely variable from few hours to days. Attacks may become more frequent with time but there is no joint damage after attacks. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease, possibly an abortive form of rheumatoid arthritis.
Transient synovitis of hip is a self-limiting condition in which there is an inflammation of the inner lining of the capsule of the hip joint. The term irritable hip refers to the syndrome of acute hip pain, joint stiffness, limp or non-weightbearing, indicative of an underlying condition such as transient synovitis or orthopedic infections. In everyday clinical practice however, irritable hip is commonly used as a synonym for transient synovitis. It should not be confused with sciatica, a condition describing hip and lower back pain much more common to adults than transient synovitis but with similar signs and symptoms.
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS), a form of bursitis, is inflammation of the trochanteric bursa, a part of the hip.
Asphyxiating thoracic dysplasia (ATD), also known as Jeune syndrome, is a rare inherited bone growth disorder that primarily affects the thoracic region. It was first described in 1955 by the French pediatrician Mathis Jeune. Common signs and symptoms can include a narrow chest, short ribs, shortened bones in the arms and legs, short stature, and extra fingers and toes (polydactyly). The restricted growth and expansion of the lungs caused by this disorder results in life-threatening breathing difficulties; occurring in 1 in every 100,000-130,000 live births in the United States.
Chest pain in children is the pain felt in the chest by infants, children and adolescents. In most cases the pain is not associated with the heart. It is primarily identified by the observance or report of pain by the infant, child or adolescent by reports of distress by parents or caregivers. Chest pain is not uncommon in children. Many children are seen in ambulatory clinics, emergency departments and hospitals and cardiology clinics. Most often there is a benign cause for the pain for most children. Some have conditions that are serious and possibly life-threatening. Chest pain in pediatric patients requires careful physical examination and a detailed history that would indicate the possibility of a serious cause. Studies of pediatric chest pain are sparse. It has been difficult to create evidence-based guidelines for evaluation.
Slipping rib syndrome (SRS) is a condition in which the interchondral ligaments are weakened or disrupted and have increased laxity, causing the costal cartilage tips to subluxate. This results in pain or discomfort due to pinched or irritated intercostal nerves, straining of the intercostal muscles, and inflammation. The condition affects the 8th, 9th, and 10th ribs, referred to as the false ribs, with the 10th rib most commonly affected.
Twelfth rib syndrome, also known as rib tip syndrome, is a painful condition that occurs as a result of highly mobile floating ribs. It commonly presents as pain that may be felt in the lower back or lower abdominal region as a result of the 11th or 12th mobile rib irritating the surrounding tissues and nervous systems. Diagnosis is often made by a physical examination after other conditions are ruled out. The condition is often labelled as slipping rib syndrome due to the unclear definitions of the conditions, with twelfth rib syndrome sometimes being referred to as a subtype of slipping rib syndrome.
Iliocostal friction syndrome, also known as costoiliac impingement syndrome, is a condition in which the costal margin comes in contact with the iliac crest. The condition presents as low back pain which may radiate to other surrounding areas as a result of irritated nerve, tendon, and muscle structures. It may occur unilaterally due to conditions such as scoliosis, or bilaterally due to conditions such as osteoporosis and hyperkyphosis.