Arthritis in children: comparison of clinical and biological characteristics of septic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Childhood arthritis arises from several causes. The aim of this observational study is to compare the clinical and biological features and short-term outcome of different types of arthritis because they have different treatment and prognoses.Methods
Children <16 years of age hospitalised in a French tertiary care centre for a first episode of arthritis lasting for less than 6 weeks who underwent joint aspiration were retrospectively included. We performed non-parametrical tests to compare groups (septic arthritis (SA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and arthritis with no definitive diagnosis). The time before apyrexia or C reactive protein (CRP) <10 mg/L was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier method.Results
We studied 125 children with a sex ratio (M/F) of 1.1 and a median age of 2.2 years (range 0.3 to 14.6). SA was associated with a lower age at onset (1.5 years, IQR 1.2–3.0 vs 3.6 years, IQR 2.2–5.6), shorter duration of symptoms before diagnosis (2 days, IQR 1–4 vs 7 days, IQR 1–19) and higher synovial white blood cell count (147 cells ×103/mm3, IQR 71–227, vs 51 cells ×103/mm3, IQR 12–113), than JIA. Apyrexia occurred later in children with JIA (40% after 2 days, 95% CI 17% to 75%) than children with SA (82%, 95% CI 68% to 92%), as did CRP<10 mg/L (18% at 7 days, 95% CI 6.3% to 29.6% vs 82.1%, 95% CI 76.1% to 89.7%, p=0.01).Conclusions
There were no sufficiently reliable predictors for differentiating between SA and JIA at onset. The outcomes were different; JIA should be considered in cases of poor disease evolution after antibiotic treatment and joint aspiration.