Objective: To identify risk factors associated with calcinosis in children and adolescents with juvenile dermatomyositis.
Methods: A review was carried out of the medical records of 54 patients with juvenile dermatomyositis. Data were collected on demographic characteristics, clinical features: muscle strength (stages I to V of the Medical Research Council scale), pulmonary involvement (restrictive pulmonary disease with presence or absence of anti-Jo1 antibodies), gastrointestinal problems (gastroesophageal reflux) and/or heart disease (pericarditis and/or myocarditis); laboratory tests: elevated muscle enzyme levels in serum (creatine phosphokinase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and/or lactate dehydrogenase); and on the treatments given: corticoid therapy in isolation or associated with hydroxychloroquine and/or immunosuppressants. The patients were divided into two groups, depending on presence or absence of calcinosis and data were evaluated by both univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: Calcinosis was identified in 23 (43%) patients, and in six (26%) patients it had emerged prior to diagnosis while in 17 (74%) it was post diagnosis. The univariate analysis revealed that cardiac (p = 0.01) and pulmonary (p = 0.02) involvement and the need for one or more immunosuppressor (methotrexate, cyclosporine A and/or pulse therapy with intravenous cyclophosphamide) to treat juvenile dermatomyositis (p = 0.03) were all associated with an increased incidence of calcinosis. The multivariate analysis then demonstrated that only cardiac involvement (OR = 15.56; 95%CI 1.59-152.2) and the use of one or more immunosuppressor (OR = 4.01; 95%CI 1.08-14.87) were independently associated with the presence of calcinosis.
Conclusions: Calcinosis was a frequent development among these juvenile dermatomyositis cases, generally emerging as the disease progressed. Calcinosis was associated with the more severe cases that also had cardiac involvement and where immunosuppressors had to be included in the treatment.