Autoimmune disorders are not commonly encountered in a general pediatric practice, but they may mimic many other disorders. Although they occur infrequently, it is always important to pause and consider an autoimmune disorder in the differential diagnosis. A detailed history and careful physical examination play an important role in guiding laboratory evaluation for these disorders. Many autoimmune disorders present with symptoms that involve multiple organ systems. The common symptoms that may make one consider a rheumatic disorder in the differential diagnosis are fever, fatigue, joint pain, rash, ulcers, and muscle weakness. The most common reason for referral to a pediatric rheumatologist is joint pain. A good joint examination may be performed by the use of the pediatric Gait, Arms, Legs, Spine screen, which is a validated screening tool. A small portion of children with fever of unknown origin may have an autoimmune disorder, with a majority of them having an infectious disease. Some patients with undiagnosed rheumatic disorders may present to the emergency. department. The characteristics of historic and clinical examination features of various autoimmune disorders are discussed in this article.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health