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.