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Paediatric Rheumatology


PFAPA syndrome: clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes in a large single-centre cohort

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2013 Vol.31, N°6
PI 0980, PF 0987
Paediatric Rheumatology

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PMID: 24237762 [PubMed]

Received: 04/11/2012
Accepted : 11/04/2013
In Press: 14/11/2013
Published: 20/12/2013


This paper aims to describe clinical and laboratory features and disease outcome in a single-centre cohort of patients with PFAPA syndrome (Periodic Fever, Aphtous stomatitis, Pharyngitis, and Adenitis) and to test performance of diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms.
Patients fulfilling criteria were selected from the fever clinic population. Prospective follow-up together with recruitment of newly diagnosed patients followed pre-defined guidelines. Diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms and definitions of outcome and therapy response were formulated. Paired blood samples during febrile and afebrile periods were compared.
Out of 176 patients referred for suspected periodic fever 125 children fulfilled criteria. Their age at onset was 23 months, median episode duration 3.5 days at 4-week intervals. Fever was associated with pharyngitis (91%), cervical adenitis (78%) and aphtae (41%). Among therapeutic options, episodic prednisone proved to be the most common first-line treatment. Administered to 77 patients, it reduced symptoms in 94%. Tonsillectomy led to the full symptom resolution in all 18 patients. Forty-six patients reached disease remission.
Distribution of typical symptoms, response to therapies and disease outcome in a large patient cohort were documented. We offer diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms that have proven effective during this prospective trial. Our findings support the general belief of benign nature of this aetiologically unclear condition, despite proportion of patients having persistent disease for years. Maintenance of normal findings in afebrile intervals, striking response to a single dose of prednisone and normal growth and development together with spontaneous tendency towards prolongation of afebrile intervals are important confirmatory features of PFAPA syndrome.

Rheumatology Article