Uveitis in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis 18-Year Outcome in the Population-based Nordic Cohort Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose To assess the long-term outcome of uveitis in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Design Population-based, multicenter, prospective JIA cohort, with a cross-sectional assessment of JIA-associated uveitis (JIA-U) 18 years after the onset of JIA. Participants A total of 434 patients with JIA, of whom 96 had uveitis, from defined geographic areas of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Methods Patients with onset of JIA between January 1997 and June 2000 were prospectively followed for 18 years. Pediatric rheumatologists and ophthalmologists collected clinical and laboratory data. Main Outcome Measures Cumulative incidence of uveitis and clinical characteristics, JIA and uveitis disease activity, ocular complications, visual outcome, and risk factors associated with the development of uveitis-related complications. Results Uveitis developed in 96 (22.1%) of 434 patients with JIA. In 12 patients (2.8%), uveitis was diagnosed between 8 and 18 years of follow-up. Systemic immunosuppressive medication was more common among patients with uveitis (47/96 [49.0%]) compared with patients without uveitis (78/338 [23.1%]). Active uveitis was present in 19 of 78 patients (24.4%) at the 18-year visit. Ocular complications occurred in 31 of 80 patients (38.8%). Short duration between the onset of JIA and the diagnosis of uveitis was a risk factor for developing ocular complications (odds ratio [OR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–1.8). Patients with a diagnosis of uveitis before the onset of JIA all developed cataract and had an OR for development of glaucoma of 31.5 (95% CI, 3.6–274). Presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) was also a risk factor for developing 1 or more ocular complications (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.2–7.7). Decreased visual acuity (VA) <6/12 was found in 12 of 135 eyes (8.9%) with uveitis, and 4 of 80 patients (5.0%) with JIA-U had binocular decreased VA <6/12. Conclusions Our results suggest that uveitis screening should start immediately when the diagnosis of JIA is suspected or confirmed and be continued for more than 8 years after the diagnosis of JIA. Timely systemic immunosuppressive treatment in patients with a high risk of developing ocular complications must be considered early in the disease course to gain rapid control of ocular inflammation.