Detecting and Treating Pediatric Rheumatologic Problems - A Primer for Parents and Primary Care Pediatricians

Interviews with Experts


Stephen A. Paget, MD, FACP, FACR

Physician-in-Chief Emeritus, Hospital for Special Surgery

Thomas J.A. Lehman, MD

Chief, Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical School

While primary care pediatricians are thoroughly trained to anticipate and detect a wide array of problems in children, rheumatologic disorders are seldom recognized and are quite often overlooked in favor of other conditions associated with similar symptoms. These symptoms can include depression, muscular problems, stiffness, soreness, growing pains, fatigue, and general "failure to thrive".

If primary care pediatricians are vigilant in their examination of a young patient with these symptoms, they might prevent significant and severe problems later in that patient's life. When rheumatological disorders are detected, it is crucial to follow through on a consultation with a rheumatological specialist. Likewise, it is equally important for free sharing of information to continue with all those involved - the patient, the parent, the primary care physician, and the pediatric rheumatologist. This open communication facilitates a trusting, supportive environment in which all risks, benefits, side effects, viewpoints, and diagnoses are discussed in detail.

In this video interview, Drs. Lehman and Paget discuss these topics as well as recent improvements in treatment with biologic agents, improvements in the way physicians view the potential severity and long-term effects of these conditions, and realistic approaches to the risks of side effects of administered treatments.


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