Rheumatology

Mercedes Chan and Dax Rumsey

The Division of Rheumatology has recently tripled its membership with the arrival of Mercedes Chan (l) and Dax Rumsey (r). Click the photo to read more about the talents they are bringing.


What is Pediatric Rheumatology?

Pediatric rheumatology involves the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases and conditions in children and teens, including:

  • chronic arthritis (e.g. juvenile idiopathic arthritis)
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • rheumatic fever
  • scleroderma
  • juvenile dermatomyositis
  • vasculitis

Rheumatic diseases and conditions most often affect the joints and muscles and patients are most often referred because of joint pain or swelling or muscle weakness. However, some rheumatic diseases are “multi-system” – that is, they affect other areas of the body. Pediatric rheumatologists may also be asked to see children with chronic and unexplained problems such as prolonged or recurrent fevers, anemia, rashes or fatigue.

Our division sees patients from a wide geographic area including Edmonton and surrounding communities, across northern and central Alberta, northeastern B.C. and the Northwest Territories.

Once a diagnosis of a rheumatic disease is made, pediatric rheumatologists work as part of a team that includes specialized nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists, as well as social workers, dieticians, psychologists and others to provide comprehensive care to children affected with these diseases. In addition, pediatric rheumatologists work closely with other pediatric specialists, including nephrologists, neurologists, sports medicine physicians, opthalmologists and orthopedic surgeons to care for children with complex problems.


Research

All division members are actively involved in research. In addition to independent projects, we are members of the Canadian Alliance of Pediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI) and involved in several multi-centre studies looking at outcomes of juvenile arthritis, effects of physical activity on disease outcomes, and biologic and genetic factors that influence arthritis.


Education

Teaching is an important part of academic practice. The division is actively involved in medical education from preclinical teaching to continuing medical education, including lectures, small group teaching, clinical skills and presentations at academic half days for residents in a variety of postgraduate programs. Electives are offered to medical students and residents depending on availability. Please contact the divisional administrative assistant at 780-248-5620 directly to inquire about availability.


Clinics

Pediatric Rheumatology Clinics are offered at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. In addition to several general rheumatology clinics each week, there is a dedicated clinic attended by both pediatric rheumatology and nephrology divisions for children with a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus or vasculitis, which affects the kidneys.

For children with a diagnosis of chronic arthritis or dermatomyositis, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary clinic is held weekly at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, providing convenient, integrated access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social worker, dietician, psychologist and orthotist, in addition to ongoing medical care.

All patients must be referred by their primary care doctor or another physician. Referral letters should be faxed to 1-888-790-1335.