Objective: To evaluate a group of 65 adults with a history of or persistent juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), on average, 26.4 yr after disease onset.
Methods: Disease status at the time of the study included an evaluation of disease-related parameters assessed by the patient and the investigator.
Results: Active disease was present in 37% of the study participants, of which 80% had either extended pauciarticular or polyarticular JCA. Eleven per cent of the study subjects were in Steinbrocker functional classes III and IV and 22% had undergone JCA-related major surgery. The pain visual analogue scale, health assessment questionnaire, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly increased in those participants who had active JCA at the time of the study. Disease duration proved to be the parameter most strongly associated with an unfavourable disease outcome.
Conclusions: Although the study group was biased towards the more severe cases, the data suggest that the long-term functional outcome in JCA is, in more than one-third, associated with active disease persisting into adulthood, increasing residua and the need for surgery.