Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

Patients Without a Rheumatic Disease Diagnosis in a Pediatric Rheumatology Unit: Retrospective Analysis and Comparison Between Pre-pandemic and Pandemic Periods


Department of Pediatric Rheumatology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey


Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2023; 58: 49-55
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2022.22192
Read: 547 Downloads: 232 Published: 01 January 2023

Objective: Children with suspicious complaints of rheumatic diseases are generally referred to a pediatric rheumatologist. We aimed to evaluate the profile of patients referred to the pediatric rheumatology unit and were not diagnosed with a rheumatic disease and to assess the impact of the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic on referral complaints.

Materials and Methods: All new outpatients who applied to the pediatric rheumatology department between March 2019 and February 2021 and were not diagnosed with rheumatic disease were included. We also compared the frequency of admission symptoms during the pre-pandemic (March 2019-February 2020) and pandemic periods (March 2020-February 2021).

Results: A total of 1089 patients without a rheumatic disease diagnosis (568 female, 52.2%; median age 10.0 years) were included in this study. The most common complaint for referral was prolonged or recurrent fevers (13.4%) followed by anti-nuclear antibody positivity (13.1%), arthralgia (13.0%), skin findings (7.5%), and the presence of heterozygous mutations in the Mediterranean fever gene (6.9%). During the pandemic year, the number of patients referred for back pain increased significantly (P = .028). A total of 682 of 1089 patients were consulted from other departments in our center (62.6%). Of these, the most frequent consultation request was from general pediatrics (43.6%). The rheumatic disease was excluded in 11.3% of the patients.

Conclusion: Prolonged or recurrent fever and anti-nuclear antibody positivity were the most frequent complaints of referrals to a pediatric rheumatology unit in patients who did not have a rheumatic disease. The rate of back pain was more common in children during the pandemic period.

Cite this article as: Kaya Akca Ü, Deniz Batu E, Tanalı G, et al. Patients without a rheumatic disease diagnosis in a pediatric rheumatology unit: Retrospective analysis and comparison between prepandemic and pandemic periods. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2023;58(1):49-55.

EISSN 2757-6256