Background: Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is the most common inflammatory myopathy in the pediatric population and can represent a medical emergency. However, many features of JDM remain poorly understood, disease presentation is highly variable, and predictors of disease course have yet to be identified.
Methods: This retrospective chart review included 47 JDM patients seen at a tertiary care center over a 20-year period. Characteristics such as demographics, clinical signs and symptoms, antibody positivity, dermatopathology features, and treatments were recorded.
Results: All patients had evidence of cutaneous involvement, whereas 88.4% experienced muscle weakness. Constitutional symptoms and dysphagia were commonly present. The most frequent cutaneous findings were Gottron papules, heliotrope rash, and nailfold changes. Anti-TIF1? was the most prevalent myositis-specific autoantibody. Management involved systemic corticosteroids in nearly all cases. Strikingly, the dermatology department was only involved in the care of four in every ten (19/47) patients.
Conclusions: Prompt recognition of the strikingly reproducible skin findings present in JDM can improve disease outcomes in this population. This study highlights the need for increased education of such pathognomonic findings as well as more multidisciplinary care. In particular, a dermatologist should be involved in the care of patients presenting with muscle weakness and skin changes.