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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

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The goals of testing are to help diagnose juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), to distinguish it from other forms of arthritis and conditions with similar symptoms, and to evaluate its severity. Testing can be used to monitor the condition, its potential complications, response to treatment, and to monitor for potential side effects associated with some treatments.

Diagnosis of JRA is based on medical exam, including review of clinical signs and symptoms, such as persistent arthritis in one or more joints for at least six weeks that cannot be attributed to another cause. Those affected may also have an enlarged liver or spleen, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, heart problems, and eye inflammation.

Laboratory tests
Laboratory tests that can aid in the diagnosis of JRA include the following, although many children with JRA will not have any abnormal findings on these:

Other lab tests that may be performed to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms include:

Non-laboratory tests

  • X-rays of the joints and chest – to identify the presence of joint inflammation or fluid build-up around the heart or lungs and to rule out other conditions, such as fractures, tumors, infection, or congenital defects
  • Eye exam – to detect the development of eye inflammation
  • EKG – to detect inflammation of the heart

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