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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1989 Feb;8(2):259-65.

Fatal multisystem disease with immune enteropathy heralded by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22908.


The prognosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is generally good, although premature death occurs in a subset of children. Secondary infections, chronic amyloidosis, and heart disease have been reported as common causes. Our experience indicates that JRA can also herald the development of a severe immune enteropathy. In the case presented, typical JRA was followed by fulminant hepatitis; skin rashes; recurrent, severe, watery diarrhea; malabsorption; and ultimately death. Biopsies of the small bowel exposed to the patient's serum revealed deposition of complement and immunoglobulins in the epithelium. Although not widely appreciated, JRA can herald a multisystem syndrome characterized by severe immune enteropathy.

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