Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) and juvenile polymyositis (JPM) are rare autoimmune diseases that affect muscle and skin as well as other organ systems. Duke pediatric rheumatologists are experts in treating children affected with these diseases and are actively conducting research into these conditions. We help children live normal, active lives.
A prompt, precise diagnosis is key to getting juvenile dermatomyositis and juvenile polymyositis under control and preventing debilitating complications such as muscle weakness and loss of mobility. Your child's pediatric rheumatologists will perform a variety of tests to rule out other illnesses, confirm the presence of the autoimmune disorder, and assess muscle function.
Your child’s doctor will look for signs of inflammatory muscle disease, such as muscle weakness and rashes on the eyelids, knuckles, elbows, and knees. The physical exam findings may differ between JDM and JPM; however, most cases of myositis in children are due to JDM, with skin and muscle involvement.
Blood tests can detect whether the immune system is attacking itself and whether inflammation is present. They can also identify whether enzymes that signal muscle damage are elevated and whether there is additional organ involvement.
A swallow study is performed if muscle weakness affects your child’s ability to swallow properly or safely.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs)
Muscles involved in breathing can be weakened by inflammatory disease. PFTs can measure the degree of weakness.
Also known as EMG, this electrical test evaluates muscle damage.
This imaging exam can be useful in evaluating muscle inflammation when considering a diagnosis of juvenile myositis.
A small piece of muscle is removed and examined under a microscope to look for signs of inflammation and damage.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Why Choose Duke
A Designated Cure JM Center of Excellence
Our decades of experience managing juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile polymyositis, and other inflammatory myopathies is recognized by our designation as a Cure JM Center of Excellence.
A Team of Pediatric Specialists
In addition to a pediatric rheumatologist, your child will benefit from the care provided by a team of experts that includes metabolic and genetic specialists, a neuromuscular neurologist, physical and occupational therapists, pulmonary specialists, dermatologists, and others. Together, they will diagnose and manage your child’s condition and the complications associated with the disease.
Our team includes internationally recognized researchers whose work focuses on better understanding the cause of these diseases and identifying factors that can determine which children will respond to standard therapy and which may not.
Transition to Adult Care
Adolescents participate in a transition program that introduces them to the self-care skills they will need as they become young adults with a chronic disease. At the same time, they will transition their care to an adult rheumatologist.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.