Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
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Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common chronic arthritic disease of childhood and corresponds to a group of different subtypes.
The estimated incidence is ~13 per 100,000 per annum 3. By definition, symptoms must start before 16 years of age. Females are more affected with F:M = 2:1.
Oligoarticular or polyarticular arthritis of a duration of six weeks or longer must be present to diagnose juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Patients may present with an acute onset of symptoms or a more gradual onset. Symptoms are often worse in the morning but typically persist to some extent throughout the day.
In patients with systemic-onset (also known as Still disease), intermittent spiking fevers are typically noted, which helps distinguish juvenile idiopathic arthritis from other diseases such as infection, other inflammatory diseases and malignancy. Migratory salmon-colored light pink rash involving the trunk and/or extremities and hepatosplenomegaly are also frequently observed in patients with systemic-onset.
A proportion of patients have serum rheumatoid factor 9.
There are several subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis 7,8:
affected ≤4 joints in the first six months of illness
peak age: 1-6 years
mainly affects medium and large joints
polyarticular JIA (pJIA)
≥5 joints are affected
peak age: 1-4 years; 7-10 years
mainly affects small and medium joints
systemic onset JIA (Still disease, not to be confused with adult onset Still disease)
arthritis may present weeks to months after the onset of systemic symptoms
Imaging shows a varied spectrum of involvement, based on the severity and duration of the disease. There is usually a predilection for large joints rather than small joints.
Cervical spine radiographs may demonstrate:
ankylosis, especially of the facet joints
Hips: can be common (reported range ~ 35-63% 15), especially with enthesitis-related arthritis and polyarticular subtypes 14
Knee: Widened intercondylar notch is a sign associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (and haemophilic arthropathy and tuberculous arthropathy).
MRI may show synovial hypertrophy, joint effusions and rice bodies 10, as well as osseous and cartilaginous erosions. Active synovitis is characterized by enhancement in T1-weighted gadolinium contrast studies.
Management and prognosis
Management includes physical therapy, weight control, nutrition counseling, and drugs. The most commonly used drug is methotrexate. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and biologic response modifiers also maye be used. Surgery only used in advanced disease to improve joint function.