Pediatric Lupus Clinic

The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital provides services and opportunities to help children, adolescents and teens with lupus. Our experts treat all types of pediatric lupus, with particular expertise in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Our Circle of Support

Our team of specialists helps you manage your child's illness, along with the support of a community of other patients and parents.

Pediatric Lupus Clinic circle of support diagram

What to Expect

Symptoms of lupus can vary widely from person to person and may include any combination of:

  • Achy, stiff or painful joints
  • Fevers
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth or nose sores
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress
  • Changes in urine
  • Blood clots
  • Seizures or other neurological changes

Additionally, blood work can show anemia, low white blood cell or platelets, positive antibodies, blood or protein in urine, or elevated inflammatory markers. 

It is important to know that everyone person with lupus does not have all of these symptoms.

Unfortunately, there is no one test to diagnose lupus.

Diagnosis is often difficult, because lupus affects each person differently. With symptoms that can vary so broadly — and because lupus is rare in children — confirming a diagnosis can take time.

Steps to diagnose lupus include:

  • Answering questions about your child’s health and medical history
  • A physical exam performed by your child’s doctor
  • Blood testing
  • Urine testing

Our experts develop personalized treatment plans based on a thorough assessment of each child’s individual needs.

Treatment starts with medication that helps to suppress the immune system and decrease inflammation.

Your child’s treatment plan may also include:

At Comer Children's our comprehensive approach to lupus care offers many benefits for children and their families, including:

  • Help with managing complicated medication schedules
  • Counseling on lifestyle changes like nutrition, rest and exercise
  • Advice on communicating with school, teachers and peers
  • Visit with a support group and family education group on the same day as your doctor’s appointment
  • Opportunities to participate in research

You’ll have a three-hour visit every three months.
 
Your child's appointment will be scheduled at either 12:45 p.m. or 3 p.m. on the second or third Thursday of the month. We are located on the fourth floor of Comer Children’s Hospital in in Hyde Park.
 
The clinic covers the cost of your parking and public transportation, as well as a meal with other patients.
You’ll meet with each of your child's providers in one extended appointment, including:
  • A pediatric rheumatologist, who will examine your child, ask questions about your child's health and order lab tests
  • A pediatric nephrologist, who checks your child's kidneys, if needed
  • A pharmacist, who reviews your child's medications and suggests strategies for taking them properly
  • A nurse educator, who meets with your family to help you better understand and manage your child's disease
  • A social worker and/or a child life specialist, who helps you with the daily challenges of living with pediatric lupus

Your child can attend a support group with other adolescent patients, led by a child life specialist.

Additionally, you can meet with other parents and caretakers in a lupus education class.

View of the Center for Care and Discovery from Washington Park

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Meet Our Pediatric Rheumatology Team