Juvenile chronic arthritis in adult life: a study of long-term outcome in patients with juvenile chronic arthritis or adult rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Rheumatol. 1999;18(3):220-6. doi: 10.1007/s100670050088.


We compared the prognostic factors and outcome of 30 patients with juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) extending into adult life with those of 30 patients with adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at a university adult rheumatology clinic; pairs were matched for sex and duration of disease (mean 8 years). One-third of JCA patients had seronegative polyarticular disease and another third had oligoarticular disease. In a third of the JCA patients, the clinical presentation changed during the follow-up. Over half of the RA patients had seropositive polyarticular and a one-third had seronegative polyarticular disease. Fewer seropositive patients were recorded in the JCA group than in the RA group both at the beginning (16.7% versus 56.7%; p=0.003) and at the end of the follow-up (14.3% versus 59.3%; p=0.001). JCA patients developed less radiographic changes than RA patients (46.7% versus 76.7%; p=0.034); oligoarthritis in the JCA group had the best prognosis whereas seropositive polyarthritis in the RA group had the worst prognosis. Significantly more patients with JCA than RA (60% versus 23%; p=0.009) were in remission at the end of the follow-up. In conclusion, when studied in adult life, the long-term prognosis is better in patients with JCA than in those with RA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / pathology*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Joints
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Remission Induction
  • Serologic Tests


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids