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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Pediatric Rheumatology 1/2018

Practice and consensus-based strategies in diagnosing and managing systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in Germany

Pediatric Rheumatology > Ausgabe 1/2018
Claas H. Hinze, Dirk Holzinger, Elke Lainka, Johannes-Peter Haas, Fabian Speth, Tilmann Kallinich, Nikolaus Rieber, Markus Hufnagel, Annette F. Jansson, Christian Hedrich, Hanna Winowski, Thomas Berger, Ivan Foeldvari, Gerd Ganser, Anton Hospach, Hans-Iko Huppertz, Kirsten Mönkemöller, Ulrich Neudorf, Elisabeth Weißbarth-Riedel, Helmut Wittkowski, Gerd Horneff, Dirk Foell, PRO-KIND SJIA project collaborators
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12969-018-0224-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) is an autoinflammatory disease associated with chronic arthritis. Early diagnosis and effective therapy of SJIA is desirable, so that complications are avoided. The PRO-KIND initiative of the German Society for Pediatric Rheumatology (GKJR) aims to define consensus-based strategies to harmonize diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in Germany.


We analyzed data on patients diagnosed with SJIA from 3 national registries in Germany. Subsequently, via online surveys and teleconferences among pediatric rheumatologists with a special expertise in the treatment of SJIA, we identified current diagnostic and treatment approaches in Germany. Those were harmonized via the formulation of statements and, supported by findings from a literature search. Finally, an in-person consensus conference using nominal group technique was held to further modify and consent the statements.


Up to 50% of patients diagnosed with SJIA in Germany do not fulfill the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) classification criteria, mostly due to the absence of chronic arthritis. Our findings suggest that chronic arthritis is not obligatory for the diagnosis and treatment of SJIA, allowing a diagnosis of probable SJIA. Malignant, infectious and hereditary autoinflammatory diseases should be considered before rendering a diagnosis of probable SJIA. There is substantial variability in the initial treatment of SJIA. Based on registry data, most patients initially receive systemic glucocorticoids, however, increasingly substituted or accompanied by biological agents, i.e. interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 blockade (up to 27.2% of patients). We identified preferred initial therapies for probable and definitive SJIA, including step-up patterns and treatment targets for the short-term (resolution of fever, decrease in C-reactive protein by 50% within 7 days), the mid-term (improvement in physician global and active joint count by at least 50% or a JADAS-10 score of maximally 5.4 within 4 weeks) and the long-term (glucocorticoid-free clinically inactive disease within 6 to 12 months), and an explicit treat-to-target strategy.


We developed consensus-based strategies regarding the diagnosis and treatment of probable or definitive SJIA in Germany.
Additional file 1: Tables S1. Analysis of current classification criteria for SJIA and AOSD. (JPEG 47 kb)
Additional file 2: Tables S2. Key components of clinical case scenarios used for the online survey. (DOCX 29 kb)
Additional file 3: Figure S1. Consensus process for the development of statements on the management of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. AID-Net; autoinflammatory disease registry; ICON-JIA, inception cohort for patients with new-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis; SJIA, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (DOCX 21 kb)
Additional file 4: Table S3. Results from the online survey on diagnostic considerations and terminology in cases of possible systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (DOCX 22 kb)
Additional file 5: Table S4. Expert opinion on individual management steps in various case scenarios reflecting the spectrum of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (DOCX 28 kb)
Additional file 6: Table S5. Characteristics of several widely available biomarkers of inflammation in active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (DOCX 53 kb)
Additional file 7: Table S6. Application of the various classification criteria to patients with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in the German AID registry and the ICON-JIA cohort. (DOCX 22 kb)
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