Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a connective tissue disease characterized by the formation of autoantibodies and immune complexes. The heart and lungs are among the organ systems commonly affected in SLE. Pericarditis, premature coronary atherosclerosis, pleuritis and pulmonary infections are the most prevalent cardiopulmonary manifestations. Other rare associations include myocarditis, coronary arteritis, acute lupus pneumonitis/pulmonary haemorrhage, acute reversible hypoxaemia and 'shrinking lung' syndrome. Current imaging modalities may provide earlier detection of subclinical disease, which may aid in preventing these potentially fatal complications. The response to treatment varies, depending on the presentation of disease. In this chapter we address the frequency, diagnosis and monitoring, and treatment regimens of cardiac and pulmonary involvement in patients with SLE.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.