• Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy causing symmetric proximal muscle weakness, elevated CK,and characteristic EMG findings

Clinical Features

  • Symmetrical proximal muscle weakness with insidious onset
  • Generally painless (though 30% have myalgia)
  • Difficulty with kneeling, climbing stairs, combing hair, or rising from a seated position
  • Weak neck extensors causing difficulty of holding head up
  • Associated arthralgias

Differential Diagnosis




  • CBC
  • ESR
  • CRP
  • CK
  • Urinalysis
  • Consider:
    • RF
    • ANA
    • Anti-Jo-1


  • Prednisone 1mg/kg/day for 4-8 weeks until CK returns to reference range
  • Other treatments that rheum may prescribe:
    • Methotrexate as second line for poor response to corticosteroids
    • Other agents with less evidence: IVIG, TNF Inhibitors


  • Rheumatology or neurology consultation either in ED or as outpatient depending on severity of symptoms
  • Very strongly associated with malignancy (~30%), especially:[1]
    • Ovarian
    • Lung
    • Pancreatic
    • Stomach
    • Colorectal
    • Lymphoma
    • Bladder

See Also


  1. Hill CL et al. Frequency of specific cancer types in dermatomyositis and polymyositis: a population-based study. Lancet. 2001 Jan 13;357(9250):96-100.
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