Prognosis in juvenile chronic arthritis
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A total of 433 children, hospitalized in the Rheumatic Children's Hospital Garmisch-Partenkirchen, were followed on average for 15 years (range 10–22 years) after the onset of definite juvenile chronic arthritis. This paper reveals clearly that the different subgroups of chronic rheumatic disease in childhood with their different complications have a definite relationship to prognosis.
Severe limitation with inability to attend normal school or employment occurred in 13.4% of children with systemic polyarticular arthritis (Still's syndrome) and 11.4% of the non-systemic cases, but not in the pauci-articular group. In the latter group 82.5% of the children remained without disability or with only slight impairment: this is significantly better than in the systemic or non-systemic polyarticular groups. Although the high incidence of chronic rheumatic iridocyclitis is common in children with pauci-articular arthritis, none of this group had been handicapped by severe eye complications or blindness, in contrast to several early cases with systemic or non-systemic polyarthritis. This might be due to regular eye checks in the pauci-articular group.
Of the children in the systemic polyarticular group 10% were dwarfed. Mortality in the systemic group was 13.8%, in contrast to 1% in the non-systemic polyarticular and 0% in the pauci-articular arthritis group. Secondary amyloidosis was the most important cause of death, mainly in systemic cases. Of the children whose amyloidosis had been verified, 44% died in their second or third decades, mostly with uraemia.
Key wordsJuvenile chronic arthritis Systemic juvenile chronic arthritis (Still's syndrome) Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis Long-term follow-up prognosis Amyloidosis
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