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What is a pediatric rheumatologist?
A pediatric rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in providing comprehensive care to children (as well as their families) with rheumatic diseases, especially arthritis.
Pediatric rheumatologists are specifically trained to be highly skilled in: 1) various possible diagnoses of children and adolescents, 2) efficient use of tools and tests for diagnosis in children and adolescents, 3) selecting the most appropriate therapy (including other consultations) for children and adolescents with rheumatic diseases, 4) monitoring long-term therapy for effectiveness and side effects unique to children and adolescents, 5) achieving favorable outcomes in terms of control of rheumatic diseases and prevention of disability, 6) coordinating care for children and adolescents with multisystem diseases, and 7) dealing with chronically ill children, adolescents, and their families.
Pediatric rheumatologists have special interests in unexplained rash, fever, arthritis, anemia, weakness, weight loss, fatigue, muscle pain, autoimmune disease, and anorexia. They have particular skills in the evaluation of juvenile arthritis, spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome, dermatomyositis, Sjogren's syndrome, vasculitis, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, osteomyelitis, relapsing polychondritis, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, serum sickness, reactive arthritis, Kawasaki's disease, fibromyalgia, erythromelalgia, Raynaud's disease, growing pains, iritis, and osteoporosis in children.
This information was condensed from a Statement of the American College of Rheumatology, published in Arthritis Care and Research 12: 48-51, 1999.