Radiographic progression in children with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study.
OBJECTIVE: To assess disease progression on hand/wrist x rays from children with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS: Initial and subsequent films of 13 white children (10 girls) were read blind by a paediatric radiologist for the presence of joint space narrowing (JSN), erosions, and relative carpal length (RCL). RESULTS: One child had subcutaneous nodules; one (of 11) was rheumatoid factor positive; six were ANA positive. Median age at diagnosis was 10.7 years (2.5 to 15.9). Median number of involved joints (swelling, pain, or decreased range of motion) at diagnosis was 16 (6 to 33). Four initial x rays had either erosions or JSN. Subsequent x rays were done at (median) 13.3 (8.3 to 24.9) months after initial x rays. One of 10 subsequent x rays had shortened RCL, and six of 13 were worse than the initial ones. Four of these developed new erosions, one had increased number of erosions, and one developed new JSN. CONCLUSIONS: About half the children with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis will have evidence of radiographic progression within two years after diagnosis. Thus newly diagnosed children are at high risk of substantial joint destruction and potential disability, emphasising the need for prompt treatment.
Mason, T; Reed, AM; Nelson, AM; Thomas, KB
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