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Juvenile Arthritis


Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a long-term autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints. Your child may have symptoms for only a few months, or for the rest of his life. JA develops when the immune system attacks the tissues in the joints. Most children with JA have periods of remission with minimal joint deformity or loss of function. Your child may have any of 6 subtypes of JA. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about the type your child has.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


  • Pain medicine may be given. Learn how often your child should get the medicine and how much he should get. Watch for signs of pain. Tell healthcare providers if his pain continues or gets worse.
  • Antirheumatics may slow the progress of JA, and reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
  • Steroids are given to decrease inflammation.
  • Biologic therapy may help decrease joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. These medicines can increase the risk of serious infections and require careful monitoring.


  • Blood tests are used to check your child's blood for signs of infection or inflammation.
  • X-ray or MRI pictures may be taken of your child's joints. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the joints show up better on the x-ray. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. A joint x-ray with dye is called an arthrogram. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his body.
  • Arthrocentesis is a procedure used to drain fluid out of a joint. The fluid is tested for infection or other problems that can cause arthritis.
  • Synovial biopsy may be used if your child's joint fluid cannot be drained or if he has signs of an infection. A piece of tissue is removed from the lining of a joint. The tissue is tested for possible causes of your child's arthritis.


  • A physical therapist can help teach your child exercises to help improve his movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist can teach him skills to help with play and daily activities.
  • Surgery may be needed if your child's joints become severely affected. Surgery can be done to take out all or part of the joint and replace it with an artificial joint. This may be done to ease pain and repair the joint. It may also be done if the bones in your child's spine are pressing on the nerves.


Left untreated, JA can be very painful and cause problems with your child's growth and daily activities. JA may involve other organs in the body, such as the eyes, heart, or liver.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Juvenile Arthritis (Inpatient Care)

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