Daniel Fiedorek1, Xinyu Tang1, Sukesh Sukumaran2, R. Thomas Collins3, Elijah Bolin1

1Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Research Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
2Department of Pediatric Rheumatology, Valley Children's Hospital, Madera, California, United States
3Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, California, United States

Keywords: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, pericardial effusion, tamponade.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine if the presence of a pericardial effusion is associated with adverse outcomes among children admitted with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Patients and methods: The multicenter, retrospective cohort study was conducted with 4,332 patients (1,554 males, 2,778 females; median age: 12 years; IQR, 7, 15 years) using the Pediatric Health Information System. Data from hospital admissions between January 1, 2004, and September 15, 2015, were obtained for patients with an International Disease Classification, Ninth Revision code for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Pericardial effusion was the primary predictor variable; the outcomes of interest were length of stay, hospital costs, and readmission within 90 days. Multivariate models were created to evaluate associations between pericardial effusion and adverse outcomes. We also analyzed factors associated with increased odds of having pericardial effusion in juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Results: One hundred twenty (3%) patients had a code for pericardial effusion. Children with pericardial effusion had a longer median length of stay (7 days (IQR 3, 12) vs. 3 days (IQR 2,6), p<0.001), higher median costs ($17,688 (IQR 8,657, 40,623) vs. $8,456 (IQR 4,865, 16,302), p<0.001), and greater rates of readmission (22% vs. 15%, p=0.045). Multivariate analysis demonstrated no significant association between pericardial effusion and outcomes of interest. Black race and male sex were associated with increased odds of having pericardial effusion.

Conclusion: Pericardial effusion is rare among children admitted with juvenile idiopathic arthritis but is associated with significant morbidity; its presence may be a marker of disease severity. Black children and males admitted with juvenile idiopathic arthritis warrant special consideration and may benefit from screening echocardiography.

Citation: Fiedorek D, Tang X, Sukumaran S, Collins RT, Bolin E. Pericardial effusion in children admitted with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: A multicenter retrospective cohort study from the pediatric health information system. Arch Rheumatol 2023;38(3):358-366.

Ethics Committee Approval

This study was reviewed by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences which confirmed that no ethical approval is required as it was deemed non-human subject research. (date 24.01.2019, no: 261894). The study was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Author Contributions

Conceptualized and designed the study, drafted the initial manuscript, and reviewed and revised the manuscript: D.F., S.S., R.T.C., E.B.; Participated in designing the study, performed statistical analyses, and reviewed and revised the manuscript: X.T.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.

Data Sharing Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.