New treatment guidelines for children with a severe form of arthritis aim to improve patient outcomes
By Sarah Warr
Approximately one in every 1,000 children in Canada is living with arthritis. Among these children, almost 20 per cent have a form of the disease known as Juvenile Spondyloarthritis (JSpA). It can be more painful and cause more disability than other forms of childhood arthritis, because the inflammation affects not only the joints and but also areas where the tendons attach to bone called entheses. Most importantly, some children develop problems with their spine and are at risk of fusion of the spine if the inflammation is not controlled.
Dr. Shirley Tse, Program Director and Staff Rheumatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) proposed the first-ever treatment guidelines specific to JSpA as a part of the national recommendations for SpA developed by the Canadian Rheumatology Association and Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (CRA/SPARCC).
“Early diagnosis of this condition and the start of appropriate treatments are essential to improved outcomes for these patients,” says Tse. “Prior to the recent recommendations, no treatment guidelines specifically for JSpA existed, so this is a great step forward for these children, and the medical team caring for them.”
The guidelines were developed in response to the continued evolution of the diagnosis, management and monitoring of JSpA and SpA in recent years. They are intended to promote best practices and will be an instrumental resource in guiding the delivery of optimal care for patients with JSpA across the country.
For more information, please read the complete list of CRA/SPACRRC recommendations and guidelines for the treatment of JSpA and SpA.