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J Rheumatol. 2009 Feb;36(2):422-6. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.070600.

Persistent elevation of fibrin D-dimer predicts longterm outcome in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic, Hasbro Children's Hospital, and Department of Pediatrics, Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.



We previously demonstrated that levels of fibrin d-dimer correlate with disease activity and response to therapies in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). We hypothesized that persistence of D-dimer elevation in the patterns previously described, but over a longer followup period, would signal poor outcome.


We studied 31 children identified from 2 centers. Subjects were assigned a risk category based on their first obtained D-dimer concentration. Risk categories were based on results of our initial study, where normalization of D-dimer in patients no longer taking immunosuppressive therapy predicted good short-term outcome, and persistent D-dimer elevation while taking immunosuppressives predicted bad outcome (radiographic abnormalities, joint replacement surgery, or poor functional class) or a severe systemic manifestation. Outcome was determined at the last followup visit, a minimum of 2 years after measurement of the initial d-dimer level.


The 31 children were a mean 16.4 years old at an average of 8.8 years after their initial diagnosis. Ten children had a severe outcome during this period; all 10 had a study baseline risk category of "high." Of the 14 subjects who had a high risk category at study baseline, none had a mild outcome.


Our study indicated that a paradigm of risk of severe disease based upon persistent elevation of fibrin d-dimer on first measurements (greater than a mean of 29 months in our initial study and at least 24 months in the additional subjects) is promising to predict poor longer-term outcome in sJIA. A larger prospective study is warranted to substantiate the preliminary data and assess the relative comparative value to other biomarkers and clinical endpoints.

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