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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the disease outcomes of a cross-sectional sample of children with longstanding juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) seen between September 2002 and December 2006, and to provide a benchmarking of outcomes obtained with current treatment.

Methods

All consecutive patients were included if they met the following criteria: diagnosis of JIA, disease duration ≥5 years, and informed consent. Outcome assessments included disease activity, inactive disease, minimal disease activity, pain, physical function, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), auxometric measurements, and articular and extraarticular damage.

Results

A total of 310 patients were included. At study visit, patients had on average a low level of disease activity. However, only 21.8% met the criteria for inactive disease, and less than 50% met the definition of minimal disease activity. Additionally, 19.2% had moderate to severe Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire disability and 3.6% were in Steinbrocker class III–IV. Approximately 10% had major impairment in HRQOL. A total of 34.2% had damage in ≥1 joint or joint group and 26.1% showed extraarticular damage. Of the 125 patients who underwent a wrist radiograph, 35.2% had significant structural damage and 8.7% had growth retardation.

Conclusion

Our patients had on average a low level of disease activity, little or no physical disability, and a satisfactory HRQOL. However, a sizable proportion of patients had persistently active disease, impaired function, and damage. These findings underscore the critical need for treatments and treatment strategies that have the ability to better control disease activity and to reduce the development of disease-related morbidities.