A brief human history of ankylosing spondylitis: A scoping review of pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment

Sierra N. Murphy, Brandon A. Nguyen, Rohin Singh, Nolan J. Brown, Shane Shahrestani, Matthew T. Neal, Naresh P. Patel, Maziyar A. Kalani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, progressive, inflammatory disease of the spine and SI joints. Diagnostic criteria and treatments have continued to evolve, necessitating a historical compendium of AS and its management. This paper aims to review the historical context underlying the discovery of AS, as well as the major diagnostic and therapeutic discoveries in the last two centuries. Methods: A scoping review of the literature pertaining to AS was performed via the Pubmed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Future directions of AS treatments were assessed by querying the clinicaltrials.gov website. Results: The history of AS can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt (as evidenced by the discovery of its presence in ancient Egyptian mummies) to the late 20th century, when the inherited nature of AS was linked to a genetic factor, HLA-B27. Each discovery made throughout the years led to further investigations into the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of AS. The criteria to differentiate AS from rheumatoid arthritis were first reported in 1893. Since then, diagnostic criteria for AS have undergone a series of changes before the present-day diagnostic criteria for AS were ultimately determined in 2009 by the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society. Conclusion: As the pathophysiology of AS is better understood, healthcare providers are able to diagnose and treat the condition more effectively. In particular, earlier diagnosis and multiple treatment options have facilitated efficient and more effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number297
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2022


  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Bamboo spine
  • Bekhterev’s disease
  • Spine
  • Spondyloarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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