What is the role of antinuclear antibody testing in the diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: David D Sherry, MD; Chief Editor: Lawrence K Jung, MD  more...
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Answer

As many as 70% of children with oligoarticular JIA have positive ANA assays. However, a positive ANA should also raise suspicion of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Overlap between the manifestations of the two disorders may lead to initial misdiagnosis of SLE as JIA.

A positive ANA is a marker for increased risk of anterior uveitis. Children younger than 6 years at arthritis onset with a positive ANA finding are in the highest risk category for development of uveitis and need slit lamp screening every 3-4 months. Titers do not correlate with disease activity.


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