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Korean J Pediatr 2010 November;53(11) :931-935.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
Ki Hwan Kim (Kim KH), Dong Soo Kim (Kim DS)
Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Severance Children`s Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding Author: Dong Soo Kim ,Email:
Copyright © 2010 by The Korean Pediatric Society
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is comprised of a heterogeneous group of several disease subtypes that are characterized by the onset of arthritis before the age of 16 years and has symptoms lasting at least 6 weeks. The previous classification of JIA included seven different categories, whereas its current classification was compiled by the International League of the Association for Rheumatology, and replaced the previous terms of juvenile chronic arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which were used in Europe or North America, respectively, with the single nomenclature of JIA. As mentioned above, JIA is defined as arthritis of unknown etiology that manifests itself before the age of 16 years and persists for at least 6 weeks, while excluding other known conditions. The clinical symptoms of JIA can be quite variable. Several symptoms that are characteristic of arthritis are not necessarily diagnostic of JIA and may have multiple etiologies that can be differentiated with careful examination of patient history. The disease may develop over days or sometimes weeks, thereby making the diagnosis difficult at the time of presentation. To make a clinical diagnosis of JIA, the first step is to exclude arthritis with known etiologies. Of note, late treatment due to excessive delay of diagnosis can cause severe damage to joints and other organs and impair skeletal maturation. Therefore, early detection of JIA is critical to ensure prompt treatment and to prevent long-term complications including the likelihood of disability in childhood.
Keywords: Arthritis | Juvenile Idiopathic | Child | Differential diagnosis
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