What Is a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

  • 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.

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What is a pediatric rheumatologist?

Doctor's response

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 pediatricians who have completed an additional 2-3 years of specialized training in pediatric rheumatology and are usually board-certified in pediatric rheumatology.

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.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018