Functional health assessment of children suffering from juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Kishore Narayan, Mahesh Kumar Muthuraja


Background: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune, non-infective, inflammatory joint disease of more than 6 weeks duration in children less than 16 years of age. The disease commonly occurs in children from the ages of 7 to 12, but it may occur in adolescents as old as 15 years of age, as well as in infants. The aim of this study was to assess health and functional status of children suffering from juvenile idiopathic arthritis for a period of one year using childhood health assessment questionnaire and disease activity score.

Methods: In the present study, children less than 12 years with JIA attending the rheumatology OP (out- patient) and general ward of the Institute of Child Health (Tamil Nadu, India), were selected. Thus a total of 54 cases were enrolled in the study. They were investigated and assessed for functional status based on childhood health assessment questionnaire and disease activity score. They were followed up for one year and also re-assessed for their functional status after one year.

Results: The mean age of the study children was 7.83 ± 2.2 years. It was seen that systemic onset type of arthritis (55.6%) was the most common type. Joint pain was the presenting complaint among all the children (100%). Fever was present in 85.2% children. Almost every joint was involved in study population; knee (88.9%) was the commonest joint involved. 74.6% of children had wrist involvement and ankle involvement was found in 70.4% cases. The mean score of functional status was 1.03 ± 0.26; after a period of 1 year none had severe disability while the mean score was 0.89 ± 0.42. Disease activity index was 2.85 ± 0.84 and after a period of 1 year it was found to be 2.76 ± 0.68.

Conclusions: The mean age of children with JIA was 7.83 ± 2.2 years with joint pain and fever as most common presentation. Although all joints were involved, knee joint was the commonest. The childhood health assessment questionnaire for the assessment of the functional status and disease activity index were simple tools, with good ability to predict disease outcome.


Childhood health assessment questionnaire, Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Functional status

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