Acute lupus myocarditis: clinical features and outcome of an oriental case series

Lupus. 2005;14(10):827-31. doi: 10.1191/0961203305lu2228oa.


Symptomatic myocarditis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is uncommon. We describe the clinical characteristics, management and outcomes of 11 SLE patients without any atherosclerotic risk factors, who presented with acute lupus myocarditis (ALM). All patients were female, 46% Chinese with mean age of 27 +/- 10 years at diagnosis of SLE. ALM was one of the initial manifestations of SLE in eight (73%) patients. The median duration from onset ALM to initiation of treatment was two weeks (range: 0.3-8). All had clinical feature of left ventricle dysfunction. The most common electrocardiographic feature was nonspecific ST/T wave changes (91%). Common echocardiographic findings included segmental wall motion abnormalities (81%) and decreased left ventricular ejection fraction (81%). Median SLE disease activity index at presentation was 16 (range: 4-30). All patients received high dose corticosteroids and 64% received intravenous pulse cyclophosphamide. There were two deaths (18%) from infections. The remaining nine survivors had no recurrence of ALM nor suffer any SLE-related damage (median SLICC damage score of 0), up to a median follow-up of four years (range: 2.5-10.1). Repeat echocardiography after six months or later showed normal LVEF in eight patients (89%). Early immunosuppressive therapy in ALM, with high dose corticosteroids and pulse intravenous cyclophosphamide, results in good cardiac outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology*
  • Myocarditis / drug therapy
  • Myocarditis / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / drug therapy
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / pathology


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Cyclophosphamide