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Uveitis in young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a clinical evaluation of 123 patients
  1. K Kotaniemi1,
  2. M Arkela-Kautiainen1,
  3. J Haapasaari1,
  4. M Leirisalo-Repo2
  1. 1Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, Heinola, Finland
  2. 2Helsinki University Central Hospital, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Kaisu Kotaniemi
    Ophthalmology Department, Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, Pikijärventie 1, 18120 Heinola, Finland; kaisu.kotaniemiphnet.fi

Abstract

Objective: To examine the prevalence and characteristics of uveitis in young adults with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Methods: The study population consisted of 123 JIA patients born between 1976 and 1980 whose arthritis had been diagnosed and treatment first started at the Rheumatism Foundation Hospital in 1976 to 1995. A clinical re-evaluation was carried out by an ophthalmologist and a paediatric rheumatologist 16 years later on average.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 23.5 years, 72% were women, and 63% had oligoarthritis. During the course of the disease, diagnosis of uveitis had been made in 25 patients (20%). Arthritis in the 19 patients with asymptomatic uveitis was more often ongoing than in the 98 patients without uveitis (p = 0.032). Asymptomatic uveitis was persistent in eight of the 19 cases (42%), and arthritis was active in seven of these. Four of the six patients with attacks of symptomatic uveitis had parallel treatment for arthritis. In three of 19 patients with asymptomatic uveitis and in five of six with acute uveitis the eye inflammation had started after the age of 16. At the onset of arthritis the patients with asymptomatic uveitis were younger than those without uveitis (p = 0.002). Complications of uveitis developed in six patients but their sight remained good.

Conclusions: Asymptomatic uveitis continued into adulthood in almost half the uveitis patients. Most also had ongoing arthritis. Acute uveitis was often associated with persistent arthritis.

  • JIA, juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • RF, rheumatoid factor
  • uveitis
  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • young adult
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