Undiagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus in a cohort of infertile women

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2004 May;51(5):336-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2004.00165.x.


Problem: Systemic lupus erythematosous (SLE) is a chronic disease with a broad spectrum of clinical and immunological manifestations, therefore, this condition may be frequently misdiagnosed. The current study was conducted to determine the prevalence of undiagnosed SLE among a cohort of infertile women.

Method of study: Screening was performed using sequential (two stage) testing, which included a self-completed questionnaire followed by an antinuclear antibody (ANA) test. The Liang screening questionnaire was distributed to 143 consecutive infertile patients, aged 24-42 years (mean, 33.6 +/- 4.7 years), who were receiving in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Patients who completed the questionnaire with three or more positive answers, were sent for ANA testing; those who tested positive (>or=1:40) were referred to the Clinical Immunology Unit for anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) antibody test and clinical assessment.

Results: A total of 136 women (95.1%) completed the questionnaire. Thirteen patients (9.6%) answered yes to three or more questions. Of these, five patients (3.7%) were ANA-positive and two (1.5%) had undiagnosed SLE.

Conclusions: A 1.5% prevalence of undiagnosed SLE was found in our cohort of infertile women. Additional investigations should be performed as to the role of SLE screening in infertile female population; a high-risk group with regard to ovulation induction treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / complications*
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear