Interstitial lung disease in systemic lupus erythematosus

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2000 Sep;6(5):424-9. doi: 10.1097/00063198-200009000-00007.


Systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) is a heterogenous disease of unknown etiology. It is not uncommon to see pleuropulmonary involvement in isolation or along with the involvement of other organ systems in SLE. Pulmonary manifestations of SLE can involve the pleura, lung parenchyma, airways, pulmonary vasculature, and the respiratory muscles. In this review we discuss two important pulmonary manifestations of SLE: acute lupus pneumonitis and diffuse interstitial lung disease. These two conditions have a major impact on the mortality and morbidity of patients with SLE and it is essential to recognize and treat them appropriately. High-resolution computed tomographic scans of the chest and pulmonary function tests help to establish a diagnosis and aid long-term follow-up of these patients. High-dose corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for the two conditions, although other agents such as cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, intravenous gamma globulin, and plasmapheresis have been used with varying degrees of success.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / epidemiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment