Hip involvement occurs in 20%–40% of all cases of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Patients with systemic JIA (sJIA) are affected most frequently. The aim of our study was to investigate the predictors of clinical hip disease and radiographic hip damage in sJIA.
The medical records (1997–2007) of all children (n = 98) with sJIA were reviewed. Potential clinical and laboratory predictors were examined at presentation and at 3 and 6 months. To account for censored observations, we used survival analysis.
During the study period, 59 children met our inclusion criteria. The mean age at diagnosis was 7.8 years. Thirty patients (51%) developed clinical hip disease, with 12 (20%) developing radiographic evidence of hip damage. The median time to develop clinical hip disease was 24 months. Using Kaplan-Meier estimates, 25% of patients develop radiographically evident hip damage within 43 months. At presentation, patients in whom clinical hip disease later developed had polyarthritis (hazard ratio 2.51, p = 0.01), elevated IgG (HR 1.12, p = 0.01) and IgM (HR 2.71, p = 0.02), and higher CHAQ scores (HR 1.65, p = 0.02). At 3 months after disease onset, patients in whom radiographic hip damage later developed had fever (HR 4.78, p = 0.02), polyarthritis (HR 4.63, p = 0.02), and higher CHAQ scores (HR 3.20, p = 0.005). At 6 months, polyarthritis was the strongest predictor of both clinical hip disease and radiographic hip damage.
Half of patients with sJIA develop clinical hip disease a median time of 24 months from diagnosis. Early identification of predictors of hip disease and damage in patients with sJIA may suggest earlier, more aggressive interventions to prevent joint destruction.