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Previously there were two traditional classifications of juvenile
arthritis: the European classification of juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA) and
the American classification of
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Because these
classifications broke down into different categories, European and American
research findings and treatment recommendations were hard to use
In an effort to
improve research and treatment, the International League Against Rheumatism has
devised a unifying set of international criteria, using the term "juvenile
idiopathic arthritis" (JIA). The word "idiopathic" means "of unknown cause."
First proposed in 1995 and later revised in 1997, this classification is
now used by most researchers and health professionals.
The table below summarizes the three
JRA does not include similar types of childhood
arthritis (juvenile ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile psoriatic
Regardless of the classification, children who develop
symptoms before reaching 16 years of age are considered to have juvenile
Current as of:
June 5, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
& John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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