Objective: Evaluation of the course and the prognosis of juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) and juvenile spondyloarthropathy (JSpA).
Methods: The entire medical histories of 171 patients with JCA or JSpA were reviewed. The study cohort comprised 102 patients with oligoarticular, 17 with systemic, and 24 with polyarticular onset of JCA; 28 patients had a SpA; 91 patients with JCA from a population based cohort were included in that study cohort. The mean period of followup was 7.4 years. The probability of remission was estimated by survival analysis methods (Kaplan-Meier method).
Results: After a disease duration of 10 years the highest probability of complete remission was estimated for patients with oligoarticular or systemic onset of JCA (54% and 38%, respectively). In the oligoarthritis group with late onset of JCA, a lower probability of remission was found for the HLA-B27+ patients compared with HLA-B27- patients. Patients with polyarticular onset of JCA had the poorest prognosis, with a significantly lower probability of complete remission (15%) within 10 years, more secondary injuries, and a lower functional capacity at followup. Patients with JSpA showed a 17% probability of remission after a disease duration of 5 years and ranged between the remission rates for oligoarticular and polyarticular JCA. The estimated remission rates for the patients with JCA in the population based cohort and in the whole cohort were quite similar.
Conclusion: Our data suggest a favorable prognosis for JCA and JSpA in general, but with differences among the subtypes. It seems that more than 50% of the patients with JCA and JSpA reach adulthood with active arthritis and need further rheumatological care.