Pediatric rheumatologists care for infants, children and adolescents with rheumatologic
and inflammatory disorders. Pediatric rheumatologic disorders happen when the body’s
immune system turns on itself and starts to attack joints, bones, muscles, blood vessels,
and other tissues. It is difficult to say why the immune system does this. Some pediatric
rheumatologists speculate that it might be genetic, others think it’s environmental,
possibly triggered by a viral infection. We see pediatric rheumatologic disorders
in girls most often, although these can also affect boys.
Why Choose Us
Our Pediatric Rheumatology Section is uniquely qualified to treat childhood inflammatory
diseases, delivering comprehensive care to children in our clinic and in the Children’s
Hospital of Georgia. We offer:
- Multidisciplinary care: We have a board-certified pediatric rheumatologist a board-certified pediatrician,
with experience in managing pediatric rheumatologic conditions, who work with a nurse
navigator to provide care for your child.
- Goal-driven care for children: Our mission is to relieve joint pain in children, prevent joint changes, and control
the spread of inflammation to organs and other parts of the body. We pay close attention
to your child’s emotional development and physical growth, in learning to cope with
the effects of inflammation.
- A team approach: In addition to having the area’s only pediatric rheumatology team, we have a wide
range of specialists to support care for your child. These include pediatric nephrologists
(kidney), ophthalmologists (eye), orthopedic surgeons, pediatric radiologists, pediatric
psychiatrists and psychologists, physical therapists, and other intensivists who all
work together to plan your child’s care. We work closely with your child’s pediatrician
or primary care provider, and help them closely monitor your child’s progress for
side effects of medications used to treat diseases.
- Patient-and-family-centered care: We are pioneers in patient and family centered care, knowing that families and care
givers play a major role in decision-making, providing important input into the care
of their children.
Conditions We Treat
Rheumatologic inflammatory disorders can cause many symptoms including pain, which
can affect movement in children. Some of the diseases we treat are:
- Juvenile dermatomyositis, inflammation of the muscles and skin, causing muscle weakness and a typical patchy
- Fever of unknown origin (or periodic fever syndromes), prolonged fever of 101°+ that cannot be explained by infection or repeated fevers
accompanied by inflammation, without infection.
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, causing swelling of the joints.
- Benign hypermobility joint syndrome
- Kawasaki disease, inflammation of the arteries leading to the heart.
- Lupus, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own organs and tissues, and can
cause a characteristic “butterfly” rash on the face.
- Sjogren syndrome, autoimmune disorder affecting primarily the salivary and tear producing glands (causing
severe dryness of eyes and mouth).
- Sarcoidosis, inflammatory disorder affecting the lungs, kidneys, joints and eyes.
- Vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels (such as Henoch Schonlein Purpura, Takayasu
arteritis, Behcet disease).
- Autoimmune uveitis, disorders causing inflammation in the eyes.
- Autoinflammatory bone disorders, such as chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO).
- Scleroderma, a disease that causes hardening or thickening of the skin and connective tissues.
Diagnostic Tests and Procedures
We use the latest tests and procedures to diagnose and treat children with rheumatologic/inflammatory
- Blood tests
- Skin or muscle biopsy
Treatments for Rheumatologic Disorders
- Medication, such as corticosteroids, can be used to manage symptoms and reduce inflammation.
- Biologics agents are medications that target inflammatory cytokines to block inflammatory signals.
- Intraarticular corticosteroid injections, steroid joint injections.