Children's Hospital Colorado
Rheumatology

Rheumatology

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we treat the big things, the small things and everything in between.

The Pediatric Rheumatology Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children, teens and young adults with autoimmune conditions, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and vasculitis.

We are the only pediatric rheumatologists in a five-state-region. Our patients come from all over Colorado and surrounding states. Patients are referred from private local and regional community physicians, local agencies, health departments, inpatient providers and from parents themselves.

Our Pediatric Rheumatology Program and Multidisciplinary Clinics

Our Pediatric Rheumatology Program is on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and offers three multidisciplinary clinics for patients with rheumatology conditions that overlap with other pediatric specialties.

Nephrology/Rheumatology Clinic for autoimmune kidney disease in children

This is one of the few clinics in the country dedicated to children with autoimmune conditions affecting the kidneys, such as lupus and vasculitis. We monitor our patients’ symptoms and watch for any signs of kidney problems. When the kidneys are harmed, they have trouble removing the waste and extra water from the blood to make urine. During your visit, you’ll meet with a pediatric rheumatologist and a pediatric nephrologist. They will perform a physical exam, review lab results and discuss your child’s treatment plan. Our specialized pediatric nurse will help with any home or school needs. We may also refer your child to a physical therapist, pediatric dietitian, family navigator or social worker. Children’s Hospital Colorado provides these clinics two times per month in our Rheumatology Clinic. You can make an appointment by calling our Kidney Center at 720-777-6263.

Pediatric Hematology/Rheumatology Clinic

This multidisciplinary clinic takes place every other month for patients with autoimmune clotting disorders. These disorders, such as antiphospholipid antibody disease, cause blood clots in the arteries and veins. Blood clots put children and adolescents at risk of dangerous complications. These include heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages and pulmonary embolism, which is when a blood clot blocks an artery in a lung. Our team provides testing, evaluation, treatment and counseling. We hold appointments in our Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center. You can make an appointment by calling 303-724-0362.

Orthopedic/Rheumatology Clinic for chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis in children

This monthly clinic brings together experts in pediatric rheumatology and pediatric orthopedics. We meet the complex needs of children with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO). With CRMO, inflammation of the bone causes pain and swelling. Regular clinic visits allow our doctors to track your child’s bone inflammation, watch for medication side effects and adjust treatment as needed. We hold appointments in our Orthopedics Clinic. To make an appointment, call 720-777-4944.

Why choose Children’s Colorado for the treatment of rheumatology conditions?

The Pediatric Rheumatology team at Children's Colorado treats only children, teens and young adults — making us experts when it comes to caring for kids. The entire medical team and all of the ancillary services, including the phlebotomists, radiology technicians and physical and occupational therapists, are specially trained to work with pediatric patients.

We use a family-centered approach to care. We individualize treatment plans for each patient and involve families in the medical decision-making process. Verbal and written educational materials are provided regarding each patient’s condition and medications. We also routinely work with teachers and schools if special accommodations are required.

Our multidisciplinary team includes three pediatric rheumatologists with more than 55 years of combined experience in this field. The team also consists of a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, two nurses and a staff assistant.

Parents choose us because:

  • We use a family-centered approach to care with parents at the core of our care team.
  • We individualize treatment plans for each patient and involve families in the medical decision-making process.
  • We provide verbal and written educational materials for each patient’s condition and medications.
  • We routinely work with teachers and schools if special accommodations are required.

Our multidisciplinary team includes eight pediatric rheumatologists, two nurse practitioners, pediatric specialized nurses and medical assistants, and two staff assistants.

Pediatric rheumatology conditions we treat

At Children’s Colorado, we treat autoimmune conditions from the most common to the most rare. Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissues. These include conditions like juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus and more. For conditions requiring ongoing, specialized care, our program also offers several multidisciplinary clinics.

Below are some of the pediatric rheumatology conditions we treat at our Pediatric Rheumatology Program.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. It can cause symptoms including swelling, stiffness, pain, fever and rash. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common kind of arthritis in children. This makes it one of the most common reasons to see a pediatric rheumatologist.

It’s important to diagnose juvenile idiopathic arthritis early to help keep the symptoms and complications from getting worse. These can include growth problems, eye inflammation and joint damage. Our pediatric rheumatology team will perform a physical exam, taking into consideration your child’s symptoms. Next, they’ll ask about any family history of similar problems. They may also order X-rays and blood tests. These help rule out other causes for those symptoms. Treatment involves medication and physical therapy.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus is also known as lupus. It causes systemic inflammation, meaning it can affect the whole body. This can include the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain. It can begin at any age, but it most often begins during adolescence and adulthood. It is more common in females than males. Symptoms in children often include rashes, joint pain, weight loss and fever.

Our rheumatology specialists will assess your child’s symptoms. We’ll also run blood tests to make a diagnosis. The goal of treatment is to get the condition into remission so that the symptoms go away. Treatment involves medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

Vasculitis (granulomatosis with polyangiitis, pediatric microscopic polyangiitis and pediatric Henoch-Schonlein purpura)

These disorders involve inflammation of the blood vessels which can result in organ tissue damage or other complications. Symptoms can appear in the nose, throat, lungs, kidneys or joints.

Our pediatric rheumatologists diagnose vasculitis in children through a physical exam and medical history. We also use imaging, such as X-ray or MRI, and testing of the blood and urine. We may do more testing to determine which parts of your child’s body are being affected. This tells us what to watch during treatment.

Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease which causes increasing muscle weakness. It also causes a skin rash, usually seen on the face, knuckles, elbows, knees, chest and back. It is more common in girls and most often begins in children ages 5 to 15.

When our pediatric rheumatologists suspect dermatomyositis, they may confirm the diagnosis through tests. These include blood tests, MRI and muscle biopsy. Patients can manage their symptoms through sun protection, medication and physical therapy.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes skin and connective tissue to tighten and harden and can happen at any age. Children usually experience localized scleroderma, which means it affects only a few skin and muscle areas. Sometimes, children may develop systemic scleroderma, which can affect the entire body.

Our pediatric rheumatologists diagnose scleroderma based on its symptoms. They may also recommend tests such as blood tests, skin biopsies and MRI. Skin biopsies involve looking at skin cells under a microscope. The condition is not curable, but it is manageable. Our doctors will suggest medications, skin protection and physical therapy.

Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome

In this condition, the immune system makes antibodies that cause blood clots. Blood clots in the arteries and veins can cause heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages and pulmonary embolism, when a blood clot blocks an artery in the lung. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome occurs in children and teens.

Our pediatric rheumatology specialists do blood tests to diagnose the condition. Our team will help you manage your child’s condition and discuss its risks.

Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis

Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis causes non-infectious inflammation of the bone. This results in pain and swelling. It is usually seen around the knees, ankles and wrists. It most often begins in children and adolescents ages 8 to 14.

Our pediatric rheumatologists will diagnose this disorder through tests. These may include blood tests, X-rays, bone biopsies and MRI. Bone biopsies involve looking at a sample of bone cells under a microscope. Treatment options include medication to reduce inflammation. Our doctors will also suggest physical and occupational therapy.

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