Premature atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2005 May;31(2):329-54, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2005.01.001.


Significant advances have been made in defining the spectrum of clinical manifestations and the prognosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). With the use of corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents as well as better management of complications such as infection, there has been a dramatic improvement in the short-term prognosis of patients who have SLE from less than 50% survival at 5 years to 93% at 5 years and 85% and 10 years. However, many patients who survive early complications of organ failure and sepsis later develop premature coronary artery disease (CAD). In this evidence-based review, the magnitude of the problem of premature atherosclerosis in SLE is defined and evaluation of the strength of association of risk factors determined to date. The authors focus on the emerging role of new modalities for noninvasive assessment of vascular health in patients who have SLE and offer a strategy for screening and management of those at risk of CAD. The article concludes with a discussion on the important questions that remain to be answered and future directions for research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors