Some complement deficiencies predispose to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) early in life. Currently, there are no known unique physiologic or genetic pathways that can explain the variability in disease phenotypes. Children present with more acute illness and have more frequent renal, hematologic, and central nervous system involvement compared to adults with SLE. Almost all children require corticosteroids during the course of their disease; many are treated with immunosuppressive drugs. Mortality rates remain higher with pediatric SLE. Children and adolescents accrue more damage, especially in the renal, ocular and musculoskeletal organ systems. Conversely, cardiovascular mortality is more prevalent in adults with SLE.
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