Laryngeal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Dec;22(3):203-14. doi: 10.1016/0049-0172(92)90020-e.


Laryngeal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can range from mild ulcerations, vocal cord paralysis, and edema to necrotizing vasculitis with airway obstruction. In this report, four cases showing the range of severity of this disease manifestation are presented, accompanied by a comprehensive review of the literature. The clinical course of 97 patients with laryngeal involvement with SLE are reviewed, of whom 28% had laryngeal edema and 11% had vocal cord paralysis. In the majority of cases, symptoms such as hoarseness, dyspnea, and vocal cord paralysis resolved with corticosteroid therapy. Other, less common causes of this entity included subglottic stenosis, rheumatoid nodules, inflammatory mass lesions, necrotizing vasculitis, and epiglottitis. The clinical presentation of laryngeal involvement in patients with SLE follows a highly variable course, ranging from an asymptomatic state to severe, life-threatening upper airway compromise. With its unpredictable course and multiple causations, this complication remains a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to physicians involved in the care of patients with SLE.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Laryngeal Diseases / etiology*
  • Laryngeal Edema / diagnosis
  • Laryngeal Edema / drug therapy
  • Laryngeal Edema / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Rheumatic Nodule / diagnosis
  • Rheumatic Nodule / drug therapy
  • Rheumatic Nodule / etiology
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis / drug therapy
  • Vasculitis / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / diagnosis
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / drug therapy
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology


  • Azathioprine
  • Prednisone