Oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

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Oligoarticular arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in young people, affecting four joints or less in the first six months of symptoms. Find out more about the two different types of oligoarticular arthritis.

Key points

  • Oligoarticular arthritis is the most common type of JIA in young people, affecting up to four joints in the first six months of symptoms.
  • There are two types: oligoarticular-persistent arthritis an oligoarticular-extended arthritis.
  • Both types have a high risk of eye disease called uveitis.

Oligoarticular (say: oh-lee-go-ar-tik-yoo-lur) JIA occurs in 50% to 60% of young people who have JIA. It is the most common type of JIA in young people. It affects four or fewer joints in the first six months after diagnosis. There are two types of oligoarticular JIA: oligoarticular-persistent JIA and oligoarticular-extended JIA.

Quick facts About oligoarticular-persistent JIA

Oligoarticular-persistent arthritis
Oligoarticular-persistent arthritis affects more females than males. It affects four or fewer joints. There may also be inflammation in the eye, called uveitis.
  • Oligoarticular-persistent arthritis is generally the mildest form of JIA
  • It affects girls more often than boys.
  • It usually begins before four years of age.
  • It most often affects the large joints such as the knee, ankle, wrist, and/or elbow joints.
  • It can be associated with an eye disease called uveitis​, which affects up to 20% of young people with this type of JIA.

It is rare to have permanent joint damage with appropriate treatment of this type of JIA. Sometimes this type of JIA goes away completely a few years after their symptoms begin. For others, the disease may last into adulthood.

Quick facts about oligoarticular-extended JIA

Oligoarticular-extended Arthritis
Oligoarticular-extended arthritis occurs in females more often than males. It affects both large and small joints asymmetrically. There may be inflammation in the eye, called uveitis.

This type of JIA also affects four or fewer joints in the first six months after diagnosis. However, after six months or more, patients with oligoarticular-extended arthritis develop arthritis in five or more joints.

Here are a few facts about oligoarticular-extended JIA:

  • Approximately 20% to 30% of patients who start out with oligoarticular JIA will develop extended arthritis in more than four joints at some point.
  • Oligoarticular-extended JIA can affect both large and small joints.
  • This type of arthritis is often treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic medication to control the joint inflammation
Last updated: January 31st 2017