Rheumatology Program

The Rheumatology Program at Boston Children's Hospital cares for children and adolescents with a broad range of rheumatologic and inflammatory diseases involving joints, muscles and connective tissues. Children from throughout the United States and around the world are referred to Boston Children's Hospital for expert consultation and second opinions concerning difficult or complex inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders.

The Rheumatology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital is a referral center for a variety of illnesses, particularly juvenile arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory disorders of the blood vessels such as Kawasaki disease, other forms of vasculitis and juvenile dermatomyositis. Each year, our staff cares for nearly 3,000 children in our outpatient clinic, and more than 500 children who are hospitalized at Boston Children’s Hospital or treated in our Emergency Department are seen in conjunction with Rheumatology specialists. Our team can provide your child with state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and clinical management. When appropriate, we work with specialists at other hospitals to ensure that your child receives comprehensive and coordinated care through adulthood.

Our expertise

Paired with our clinical expertise is an interest in making sure that our care is informed by the latest research and educating our patients and their families about their condition and its treatment. Members of our staff are leaders in exploring the causes and optimal treatments of pediatric rheumatologic conditions. Further, all have a commitment to teaching the next generation of pediatric rheumatologists.

Did you know?

When people hear "arthritis," older people immediately come to mind. But juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA, formerly known as JRA), an autoimmune disease, affects one out of every 1000 children, making it one among the more prevalent chronic childhood diseases in the country. The cause of JIA is not fully understood; children may be genetically susceptible and develop inflammation in their joints when they are exposed to certain infections or environmental triggers. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment with close follow up are critical to excellent outcomes in JIA.

Lupus can affect children, too! Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect any organ in the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys and brain. Children with lupus tend to be sicker than adults with the disease, and typically require management with multiple medications and the involvement of multiple specialists. Here at Boston Children’s Hospital, we have experts in lupus who can care for your child.

Auto-inflammatory diseases, including periodic fever syndromes, have emerged as diagnosable conditions with treatments. Examples of auto-inflammatory conditions include Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), Periodic Fevers with Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis and Cervical Adenitis (PFAPA) and Cryopryin-Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS). In our Rheumatology program, we have a monthly clinic dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of auto-Inflammatory conditions.

Skin manifestations are common in the diseases that we care for, particularly lupus and juvenile dermatomyositis. To best serve these patients, we have a monthly clinic staffed by rheumatologists and dermatologists who work together to manage dermatologic and organ involvement in pediatric rheumatic disease.