Enthesitis-related Arthritis: Prevalence and Complications of Associated Uveitis in Children and Adolescents From a Population-based Nationwide Study in Germany

J Rheumatol. 2021 Feb;48(2):262-269. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.191085. Epub 2020 Mar 15.


Objective: Enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) represents a subgroup of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) that is regularly accompanied by anterior uveitis. This study describes the prevalence and characteristics of ERA-related uveitis.

Methods: Cross-sectional data from the National Pediatric Rheumatological Database (NPRD) were used to characterize ERA-related uveitis (ERA-U). In addition to sociodemographic variables, we documented the occurrence of uveitis and course of disease, including symptoms, visual acuity, and complications, as well as JIA characteristics such as disease activity (Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score 10), functional ability (Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire score), laboratory variables, and treatment.

Results: In the years from 2002 to 2014, there were 3778 (15.2%) of a total of 24,841 JIA patients recorded in the NPRD who had ERA, and 280 (7.4%) of them had developed uveitis. Detailed ophthalmological documentation by a uveitis add-on module was available for 22.9% of these patients. Uveitis onset was acutely symptomatic in 63% of patients. Patients with uveitis were more frequently male, HLA-B27-positive, younger at ERA onset, and they had higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate values at first uveitis documentation than those without uveitis. Uveitis was diagnosed at a mean age of 11.5 (± 3.9) years (50% within 2 years after ERA onset). Systemic treatment with corticosteroids and synthetic and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs was associated with a (not significantly) lower risk of developing uveitis.

Conclusion: The course of disease in ERA-U patients is frequently similar to HLA-B27-associated uveitis in adults; however, a subgroup of patients presents with asymptomatic uveitis.

Keywords: epidemiology; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; ophthalmology; pediatric rheumatic diseases; uveitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / complications
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Uveitis* / epidemiology
  • Uveitis* / etiology