Juvenile fibromyalgia (JFM) usually affects adolescent girls. Similar to adult fibromyalgia (FM), JFM is a chronic widespread pain syndrome that is difficult to diagnose. Now, advances made in understanding FM in adults are being used to improve the diagnostic methods for JFM.
Diagnostic criteria established by The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 2010 is currently being used by doctors to diagnose FM. Now, a study conducted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, presented at the ACR 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston, shows that ACR 2010 criteria can also be applied successfully by pediatricians to diagnose JFM.
The researchers studied a group of 44 adolescent patients diagnosed with JFM by a rheumatologist in comparison to a control group of 44 age and gender matched adolescents with localized pain, such as abdominal aches or limb pain. In most of these juvenile patients, FM was diagnosed based on the Yunus and Masi criteria (93.2%) versus ACR 1990 criteria (6.8%). When the ACR 2010 Widespread Pain Index was applied to the two groups, 83.7% of the juvenile patients and 11.4% of the control patients with localized pain were diagnosed with FM. Nevertheless, the initial control patients now diagnosed with FM by ACR 2010 criteria still had less symptoms than the confirmed FM patients.
In conclusion, the application of the ACR FM 2010 algorithm and T-tests used to compare the two groups on the number of pain locations and number of reported symptoms in juveniles is able to diagnose FM, though clinical confirmation by a rheumatologist is recommended. While all forms of Fibromyalgia still remain difficult to diagnose, continued standardization of FM diagnosis in both adults and children will allow doctors more insight into how to most effectively treat the disease.