Diagnosis of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis/h2>

To diagnose JRA, the physician takes a detailed medical history and performs a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests (e.g., x-rays, blood tests). In some cases, the child is referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who will examine the joints and possibly take samples of joint fluid for testing.

Tests that may be used to diagnose juvenile rheumatoid arthritis include the following:

  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA; blood test to detect autoimmunity, is also helpful in predicting which children may develop JRA-related eye disease)
  • Blood cultures (to detect bacteria and rule out infection)
  • Bone marrow test (to rule out conditions, such as leukemia)
  • Bone scan (provides images of joints and bones to help doctors evaluate the causes of unexplained inflammation)
  • Complete blood count (CBC; looks at all the basic components of blood to look for abnormalities)
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (blood test that may indicate the presence of inflammation in the body)
  • Rheumatoid factor test (detects an antibody produced by some children with JRA)

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 07 Sep 2008

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015