Remission: What Exactly Does it Mean for JIA?

The goal of pediatric rheumatologists and their patients has always been for children diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) to be as healthy as they can be.  With more medicines that work better today than ever before, doctors and families now have a goal of complete disease control.  A patient can have complete disease control, or remission while on or off of medicines.

In medical terms, complete disease control or remission means clinical inactive disease (CID) and doctors have this list of things to look at when deciding if a patient is in CID:

  • No joints with active arthritis (swelling, pain, joints that are stiff or hard to move)
  • No fever, rash, or other additional symptoms of children with systemic JIA
  • No active uveitis (eye inflammation)
  • Normal lab tests (or if they aren’t normal, there is a clear reason for them—sickness, injury, etc.)
  • Physician Global Assessment (PGA) of zero (PGA is the number a doctor gives to a patient’s disease activity after they examine them for JIA)
  • Morning stiffness that lasts no longer than 15 minutes

Another way to check to see if a patient is in CID is to calculate their Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score (cJADAS).  This score is important because it allows the patient and/or their caregiver to also provide a number that shows how their JIA is doing.  The cJADAS includes three parts:

  • Active joint count (number of joints with active arthritis at the exam)
  • Physician Global Assessment
  • Patient/Parent Global Assessment of the patient’s overall well-being

The patient is given a total score by adding up the three numbers.  Calculating this score together will help tell the doctor and patient how well their disease is doing so they can decide what their goals are for disease activity and if they should make any changes to their medicines.

Read more about JIA remission. Sign up for the Live Yes! Online Community and join the discussion on the JA Families forum to share and learn about remission and Treat to Target.  It’s free!

Learn more about childhood arthritis, educational and social opportunities and other available resources through the Lives Yes! Arthritis Network.


Jennifer E. Weiss, M.D.

PARTNERS Learning Health System Steering Committee

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