Objective: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are significantly more likely to experience a myocardial infarction or a stroke than age-matched controls. We compared the prevalence of conventional and lupus-specific risk factors in patients with SLE just before a cardiovascular event and in matched controls with SLE but no cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods: Twenty-nine patients with SLE and CVD were enrolled. For each patient, 2 ethnically- and sex-matched controls were obtained, 1 matched for age and 1 for SLE duration. Data regarding risk factors were collected for the time immediately preceding the relevant cardiovascular event, or at an equivalent time for controls.
Results: Patients' median age at event was 49 years (interquartile range 43-54 years) and mean disease duration was 12.0 +/- 7.1 years. Patients with SLE and CVD were more likely than both age and duration controls to be treated for hypertension (P = 0.01 and P = 0.001, respectively) and to have elevated triglyceride levels (P = 0.05 and P = 0.01, respectively). Compared with duration controls, CVD patients were more likely to have lupus anticoagulant (P = 0.03), but less likely to be receiving treatment with hydroxychloroquine (P = 0.003). Compared with age controls, patients were more likely to be current smokers (P = 0.03), to have taken a mean dosage >7.5 mg/day of prednisolone (P = 0.04), and to have been treated with pulsed methylprednisolone (P = 0.03). In multivariable analysis, only hypertension treatment was an independent risk factor for CVD.
Conclusion: We identified significantly increased prevalence of some conventional and lupus-specific risk factors in patients with SLE immediately before a CVD event compared with controls matched for age or disease duration.