Bavarian State Ministry of the
Environment and Public Health

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Medical Field - Paediatric and Juvenile Rheumatology

For decades Bavaria´s clinics have been acquiring experience in paediatric and juvenile rheumatology. A multidisciplinary approach brings success and often enhances the quality of life of young patients.

Children and adolescents suffer from rheumatism as well. This highly diverse group of diseases manifests itself primarily in inflammation and pains in the musculoskeletal system. Rheumatism can also affect almost every other body structure, such as internal organs like the kidney, heart or intestine and sensory organs like the eye and the ear.

Rheumatic diseases in children and adolescents differ from those in adults. Firstly there are clinical pictures like neonatal lupus erythematosus that occur only in children. Secondly the progression of the disease is affected by growth and psychosocial development. If not treated properly these inflammatory rheumatic diseases can become life-threatening; damaged joints can result in permanent disability, rheumatic inflammation of the eye in blindness.

The non-inflammatory rheumatic diseases, the predominant feature of which is pain (grouped together as “pain intensification syndromes” when they affect children and adolescents), are being observed with increasing frequency. They are difficult to treat. The same truth applies here: untreated they result in severe impairment in everyday life.

Bavaria has a long tradition of diagnosing and treating rheumatic diseases in children and adolescents; several institutions have considerable experience. The oldest and largest special clinic for paediatric and juvenile rheumatology in the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria in 1952. This clinic, now the “German Centre of Paediatric and Juvenile Rheumatology”, is the largest special clinic of its kind in the world, with 120 beds and some 2,500 patients a year. Here they diagnose inflammatory rheumatic diseases and pain intensification syndromes on an outpatient and/or inpatient basis and treat them holistically in accordance with the multidisciplinary Garmisch Treatment Concept.

In addition the Bavarian university clinics and the larger clinics or departments of paediatric and juvenile medicine operate predominantly outpatient specialized units for paediatric and juvenile rheumatology. A synopsis of this can be found on the Website Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendrheumatologie. The Bavarian institutions of paediatric and juvenile rheumatology exchange their experiences worldwide through international networks (primarily PRES, Paediatric Rheumatology European Society, and PRINTO, Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organization) and are constantly developing their diagnostic and treatment concepts further.

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