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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 interchangeably.
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 classification systems.
|Organization||Classification||Length of illness before diagnosis|
|International League Against Rheumatism||Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
|American College of Rheumatology||Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)
JRA does not include similar types of childhood arthritis (juvenile ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile psoriatic arthritis).
|European League Against Rheumatism||
Juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA)
Regardless of the classification, children who develop symptoms before reaching 16 years of age are considered to have juvenile arthritis.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Last Revised||June 5, 2012|
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