Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Juvenile rheumatoid knee

Management of knee growth disturbances in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Eerik Skyttä

Doctoral dissertation, September 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine and Rheumatism Foundation Hospital, Departments of Orthopaedics and Paediatrics, Heinola.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is associated with growth disturbances, especially leg length discrepancy (LLD) and knee valgus deformity (KVD). Studies have demonstrated growth plate stimulation with chronic arthritis. In the context of surgical treatment of LLD or KVD of a growing knee, the less invasive procedures, which allow immediate mobilisation, are preferred. Establishment of the skeletal age and the correction potential in the knees of rheumatic children is difficult due to rheumatic changes. In this present work, an analysis of the efficacy, safety and long-term results of temporary epiphyseal arrests performed in Rheumatism Foundation Hospital (Heinola, Finland).

The distribution of diagnoses among children (n=71) with JIA and LLD (68 knees) was consistent with the normal oligoarthritis-predominated population of children with JIA. A higher male:female ratio (1:1.7 vs. 1:2.4 in population-based studies (PBS)) and earlier mean onset age (4 vs. 7 years in PBSs) were, however, distinct features in the study population. In most cases the correction was reliable and temporary arrest produced a mean correction of 1mm per month. The time of arrest required, however, varied significantly, probably due to the effect of underlying diseases and medication, and the age of the child. All complications encountered (10%) were minor. The correction achieved persisted in long-term follow-up.

KVD (n=112, 177 knees) was associated with a high proportion of polyarthritic disease subtype (45% vs. 12-31% in PBSs), and the male:female distribution was grossly female-dominated (1:4.9 vs. 1:2.4 in PBSs). The early mean onset age (3 vs. 7 years in PBSs) was also notable in this cohort. Successful correction was achieved in 2/3 cases and the mean angular correction was 0.7 degrees per month. The required time of arrest, however, varied considerably. In 13% of knees the paucity of follow-up visits resulted in over-correction to varus. The complication rate (3%) in the knees operated for KVD was considerably lower compared to ten per cent in the management of LLD. Most of the complications related to epiphyseal stapling were reversible. However, the risk of premature closure of growth plates does exist. The number of over-corrections was notably high, with 13% knees turning to varus. The correction achieved persisted in long-term follow-up.

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Last updated 28.08.2006

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