Feature Article

Paediatric rheumatology: more than just arthritis

Davinder Singh-Grewal

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Abstract

There are many important paediatric rheumatological conditions. Some closely mirror adult disease patterns, whereas others have a very different disease course and management approach. Early diagnosis and appropriate specialist referral are critical to favourable outcomes in children with these diseases.

Key Points

  • An awareness of the signs and symptoms of the rarer rheumatological conditions of childhood is important.
  • Early diagnosis and specific therapy have been shown to improve outcomes of children with these conditions.
  • Symptoms are often nonspecific, especially in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, and diagnosis depends on careful history taking and examination.
  • Kawasaki disease should be considered in children with fever persisting for more than five days or in those displaying the typical clinical characteristics.
  • Patients with symptoms or signs suggestive of these rheumatological conditions should be referred for assessment by a paediatric rheumatologist or paediatrician.

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