Jay Mehta, MD, MSEd: Understanding Pediatric Rheumatologic Lab Results


Dr. Mehta highlights some of the challenges that come with treating pediatric rheumatology patients and how he handles them.

Interpreting rheumatologic laboratory results can be challenging, not only for pediatricians, but for parents too, Jay Mehta, MD, MSEd, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, explained.

In his presentation, Red Flag or Red Herring: Rheumatologic Lab Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Pain for the American Academy of Pediatrics conference, Mehta discussed examples of patient presentations that pediatricians often see and how to properly screen them.

There are specific challenges that accompany treating pediatric patients. Mehta used the example of how arthritis doesn't present with pain in 25% of children. It can appear much more subtly as a limp or morning stiffness.

Being able to differentiate between something truly alarming when screening lab results, as opposed to something that's only seemingly alarming is important but difficult if you're not sure what to look for. And that's what Mehta aimed to address in his conference presentation.

"As rheumatologists what we do is we take the history, we take the exam, we take the labs, and put it all together," Mehta said. "One of the things that I love about pediatric rheumatology is, it does feel like putting the puzzle pieces together, but sometimes those puzzle pieces could be missing, or they may look a little bit differently."

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