Meningitis in Korean patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: analysis of demographics, clinical features and outcomes; experience from affiliated hospitals of the Catholic University of Korea

Lupus. 2011 Apr;20(5):531-6. doi: 10.1177/0961203310384495. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


Meningitis is a rare complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), potentially leading to a fatal outcome. The demographic, clinical, and laboratory features, and the outcomes of meningitis were evaluated in Korean patients with SLE. In a retrospective medical record review of 1420 SLE patients, 20 patients who had developed septic or aseptic meningitis were identified. In 11 patients, the causative microorganisms were identified ('septic meningitis'), and Cryptococcus neoformans was the major pathogen. The other nine patients were diagnosed with aseptic meningitis. The patients with septic meningitis were older than those with aseptic meningitis (p = 0.025) and displayed mental changes more often (p = 0.005). Leukocyte counts in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were higher (p = 0.044) and the levels of CSF glucose were lower in the septic meningitis group (p = 0.036). Plasma leukocyte counts and neutrophil counts were higher in patients with septic meningitis (p = 0.037 and p = 0.020, respectively). Meningitis was observed in 1.4% of Korean patients with SLE and, in 55% of the meningitis patients, microorganisms were isolated and Cryptococcus neoformans was most commonly identified. Altered mental status, plasma leukocytosis, neutrophilia, and CSF pleocytosis and hypoglycemia were more prominent in patients with septic meningitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Meningitis / epidemiology
  • Meningitis / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult