Rheumatology

Who we are

The Rheumatology team at PCH treats children and young people up to the age of 16 for a range of musculoskeletal and autoimmune problems. We may be involved in the care of your child as an outpatient or if they have been admitted to any inpatient ward at PCH, either by consultation or admission.

Our team comprises:

  • consultant paediatric rheumatologists, rheumatology registrar/fellow and resident
  • a rheumatology liaison nurse
  • an occupational therapist
  • a physiotherapist
  • a psychologist
  • a school liaison teacher.

Conditions we manage

The main conditions cared for by the Rheumatology team are:

  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM)
  • Vasculitis
  • Hypermobility
  • Connective tissue/genetic bone disorders
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO)

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Any chronic arthritis condition that occurs in children is called JIA. Juvenile means the condition started before 16 years of age, idiopathic means the cause of the condition is not fully known yet and arthritis simply means inflammation of one or more joints.

Many different terms were used in the past to describe arthritis in children, such as Juvenile Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Still’s Disease. They are now all called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and there are five main types we see:

  • systemic onset
  • oligoarthritis or pauci-articular
  • polyarticular
  • enthesitis related arthritis
  • psoriatic arthritis.

JIA is an autoimmune disorder but the reason it starts and persists is not fully understood. Research suggests that for some types of JIA, genetics may be involved, but very rarely does more than one family member get JIA.

Services we provide

  • Outpatient clinics for assessment of children to help diagnose or exclude rheumatic and musculo-skeletal disorders, and to provide long term follow up for children with chronic disease.
  • Inpatient care for admitted children with rheumatic conditions and consultation with other teams.
  • Access to important clinical trials for new drug therapies for severe and rare disorders in children.
  • Physical therapy (PT/OT) and psychology follow up for acute severe disorders with such care transitioned to community providers when appropriate.

Referrals

Referrals to our service come predominantly by GPs but also by specialist doctors when needed.