Cohen Children's offers the internationally known Pediatric Rheumatology Division, which is the first and continues to be the largest program on Long Island providing comprehensive services to children with childhood rheumatic diseases.
Rheumatic diseases are typically characterized by symptoms involving the musculoskeletal system. Many of the rheumatic diseases also feature immune system abnormalities. Because pediatric rheumatic diseases differ significantly from these diseases in adults, optimal care of children with rheumatic disease requires unique developmental, educational and nutritional considerations. It is important that children be cared for by pediatric specialists who understand these differences.
The Pediatric Rheumatology Division incorporates a coordinated multidisciplinary team approach to your child’s care, which includes vital input from physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopaedics and ophthalmology. Our pediatric rheumatologists will treat your child with compassion and care while providing state-of-the-art immunodiagnostic testing, physical and occupational therapy and psychosocial and nutritional services.
Pediatric rheumatology is a subspecialty of internal medicine that involves the nonsurgical evaluation and treatment of childhood rheumatologic disorders and conditions. Pediatric rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty, with advancements largely due to new scientific discoveries about the immunology of these disorders.
Pediatric rheumatologists efficiently use the tools and tests to diagnose children and adolescents, allowing them to select the most appropriate therapies. Pediatric rheumatologists monitor long-term therapy for effectiveness and side effects that are unique to children and adolescents while achieving the most favorable outcomes in the disease and in the prevention of disability.
What we treat
Through the Pediatric Rheumatology Division, we diagnose and treat a wide array of rheumatologic diseases.
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis - The most common type of arthritis that affects children. It used to be known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, but the name was changed to reflect the differences between childhood arthritis and adult forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a chronic and long-lasting disease that can affect joints in any part of the body. In this disease, the immune system mistakenly targets the synovium, the tissue that lines the inside of the joint. The synovium responds by making excess fluid (synovial fluid), which leads to swelling, pain and stiffness.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE - An autoimmune disease characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system.
- Lyme arthritis - Associated with Lyme disease and caused by a bacterium transmitted by tick bites. While the skin, central nervous system, heart, eye and other organs may be the target of infection, in most cases of Lyme arthritis, joints are the exclusive target.
- Dermatomyositis – A disease characterized by inflammation of muscles and the skin. It is a type of inflammatory myopathy. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, stiffness or soreness, purple or violet colored upper eyelids, purple-red skin rash and shortness of breath. The muscle weakness may appear suddenly or develop slowly over weeks or months.
- Systemic vasculitis - A heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by inflammatory destruction of blood vessels. Both arteries and veins are affected.
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura or HSP - A form of systemic blood vessel inflammation or vasculitis. HSP affects the small vessels called capillaries in the skin and frequently the kidneys. Henoch-Schonlein purpura results in skin rashes on the legs and buttocks, but may also be seen on the arms, face and trunk. Henoch-Schonlein purpura is also associated with joint inflammation and cramping pain in the abdomen.
- Fibromyalgia (formally known as fibrositis) - A chronic condition causing pain, stiffness and tenderness within the muscles, tendons and joints. Fibromyalgia can also be characterized by restless sleep, waking up feeling tired, fatigue, anxiety, depression and possibly some disturbances in bowel function.
What to expect
At Cohen Children's, our pediatric rheumatology division strives to make your child's patient experience as pleasant as possible. When coming in for your scheduled evaluation, a pediatric rheumatologist will complete a comprehensive history that includes both the current problem and your child’s past medical history. Your family history is also discussed and your child is then examined with special attention to those systems that may be affected by rheumatologic disease. Once the exam is completed, your pediatric rheumatologist will then carefully discuss the findings and any treatment with your child and let you know if further evaluation is necessary.