Obstacles in Early Diagnosis of Children With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Nationwide Israeli Retrospective Study

Yochai Frenkel, Irit Kraushar, Mohamad Hamad Saied, Ruby Haviv, Yosef Uziel, Merav Heshin-Bekenstein, Eduard Ling, Gil Amarilyo, Liora Harel, Irit Tirosh, Shiri Spielman, Yackov Berkun, Yonatan Butbul Aviel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Characterization of the stages that patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) pass until they are diagnosed, and analysis of the different causes that lead to a delay in JIA diagnosis in Israel. Methods. This is a retrospective cohort study conducted in 8 pediatric rheumatology centers in Israel. All patients diagnosed with JIA between October 2017 and October 2019 were included in the study. Demographic, clinical, and data regarding the referring physicians were collected from hospital and community medical charts. Results. Of 207 patients included in the study, 201 cases were analyzed, 71.1% of the population were female. Patients, on average, were evaluated during the diagnostic process by 3.1 different physicians. In most cases, they initially met with a pediatrician in the community setting (61.2%), and later, most commonly referred to a rheumatologist by the community pediatrician (27.9%). The median time until diagnosis was 56.0 days (range: 1.0-2451.0 days). Patients diagnosed with polyarticular and spondyloarthritis/enthesitis-related arthritis (SpA/ERA) JIA subtypes had the longest period until diagnosis (median: 115.5 and 112.0 days, respectively). Younger age correlated with a quicker diagnosis, and females were diagnosed earlier compared to males. Fever at presentation significantly shortened the time to diagnosis (P < 0.01), whereas involvement of the small joints/sacroiliac joints significantly lengthened the time (P < 0.05). Conclusion. This is the first nationwide multicenter study that analyzes obstacles in the diagnosis of JIA in Israel. Raising awareness about JIA, especially for patients with SpA/ERA, is crucial in order to avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-803
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


FundersFunder number


    • Israel
    • delay in diagnosis
    • juvenile idiopathic arthritis


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