Objectives: To study the annual incidence and standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Subjects and methods: The annual incidence of CVA from 1999 to 2007 in a longitudinal cohort of SLE patients was calculated each year and compared with that of the regional population within the same study period. Age-specific SIRs and outcome of CVA in SLE patients were also studied.
Results: In 2007, there were 490 SLE patients in our cohort. The mean annual incidence of CVA between 1999 and 2007 was 6.45/1000 patients and no obvious trend over time was observed. Of the 20 CVAs in patients with SLE, 18 (90%) were ischaemic stroke whereas two (10%) were haemorrhagic stroke. The mean SIR of all types of CVA in SLE patients was 2.02 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30-3.81; p = 0.002]. The SIR of ischaemic stroke decreased with age and the stroke incidence was no longer significantly higher than that of the population in patients aged >or= 60 years. Haemorrhagic stroke occurred mainly in younger SLE patients. The duration of hospitalization and the mortality rate for CVA was non-significantly higher in SLE than in non-SLE patients.
Conclusions: The incidence of CVA in SLE remained constant over the 8 years between 1999 and 2007. Younger SLE patients are at substantially increased risk of CVA compared to age-matched population. The duration of hospitalization and the mortality rate for CVA are similar in SLE and non-SLE patients.