Disease activity measures in paediatric rheumatic diseases

Int J Rheumatol. 2013;2013:715352. doi: 10.1155/2013/715352. Epub 2013 Sep 8.


Disease activity refers to potentially reversible aspects of a disease. Measurement of disease activity in paediatric rheumatic diseases is a critical component of patient care and clinical research. Disease activity measures are developed systematically, often involving consensus methods. To be useful, a disease activity measure must be feasible, valid, and interpretable. There are several challenges in quantifying disease activity in paediatric rheumatology; namely, the conditions are multidimensional, the level of activity must be valuated in the context of treatment being received, there is no gold standard for disease activity, and it is often difficult to incorporate the patient's perspective of their disease activity. To date, core sets of response variables are defined for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus, and juvenile dermatomyositis, as well as definitions for improvement in response to therapy. Several specific absolute disease activity measures also exist for each condition. Further work is required to determine the optimal disease activity measures in paediatric rheumatology.

Publication types

  • Review