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Dermatomyositis Program

If your child has been diagnosed with dermatomyositis, you’re probably wondering what this condition is and how it will affect your child’s life long-term. As the name indicates, dermatomyositis is an inflammation of the skin (derm-) and muscle (myo-). While there is not a cure for this condition, you can rest assured that the experts in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Floating Hospital for Children will find the best possible treatment combination to reduce symptoms and prevent long term damage.

Diagnosing the disease

Children with dermatomyositis are typically females between the ages of 5-15, but boys can be affected too. Symptoms include a red/purple rash on the face and eyelids and muscle weakness. Children often feel sore after physical activity and may have difficulty with usual daily activities such as combing the  hair or standing up from the ground. When a child arrives in the Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic at Floating Hospital with these symptoms, we determine if he or she has dermatomyositis by using a range of diagnostic techniques including:

  • Assessing the signs and symptoms of the disease
  • Doing the MRI
  • Doing blood tests
  • In rare cases, electromyography and muscle biopsy


Our expert pediatric rheumatologists work hard to provide your family with a diagnosis as soon as possible so that we can get started with treatment immediately. The earlier in the stage of disease that the treatments are started, the more effective we can be in preventing future complications like:

  • Calcifications
  • Vasculopathy
  • Heart disease
  • Interstitial lung disease

Soon after diagnosis, we typically start treatment using corticosteroids to bring down the inflammation. Slowly, we lower the dose of the corticosteroid and replace it with other medications that treat your child’s disease long-term. The key to our strategy for care is to use the right combination of medicines to control your child’s disease throughout his or her life while reducing any side effects.

To ensure that our treatment plan is giving your child the best results possible, we work closely with your pediatrician and members of your family through all of the stages of treatment. Our expert pediatric rheumatologists will schedule regular follow-up appointments to help your child along the treatment journey. 

Trevor E. Davis, MD

Trevor E. Davis, MD

Title(s): Interim Chief, Division of Pediatric Rheumatology; Pediatric Rheumatologist; Assistant Professor, TUSM
Department(s): Pediatrics, Pediatric Rheumatology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-7285
Fax #: 617-636-8388

Pediatric rheumatology, including diagnosis and treatment of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Juvenile Dermatomyositis, Morphea/Scleroderma, vasulitis (Wegener’s/GPA, MPA, Churg-Strauss, Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, Takayasu’s Arteritis), periodic fever syndromes, and inflammatory bone disease with additional clinical experience in central pain and hypermobility syndromes

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Julia (Yujuan) Zhang, MD

Julia (Yujuan) Zhang, MD

Title(s): Pediatric Rheumatologist; Director, Fellowship Program; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Pediatrics, Pediatric Rheumatology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5451
Fax #: 617-636-8388

Pediatric rheumatology

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To make an appointment with our expert pediatric rheumatologists, please call 617-636-7285.

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