Still's Disease (Systemic-Onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

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How do health-care professionals diagnose Still's disease?

Still's disease is diagnosed purely on the basis of the typical clinical features of the illness. These features include high intermittent fever, joint inflammation and pain, muscle pain, faint salmon-colored skin rash, swelling of the lymph glands or enlargement of the spleen and liver, and inflammation around the heart (pericarditis) or lungs (pleuritis). Persistent arthritis (arthritis lasting at least six weeks) is required to make a firm diagnosis of Still's disease. Other diseases (especially infections, cancers, and other types of arthritis) must be excluded.

Many patients with Still's disease develop markedly elevated white blood cell counts, as if they have a serious infection, but no infection is found. Low red blood counts (anemia) and elevated blood tests that indicate inflammation (such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate or ESR, C-reactive protein, and ferritin) are common. However, the classic blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatoid factor) and systemic lupus erythematosus (antinuclear antibodies) are usually negative.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2015

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