Global trend of survival and damage of systemic lupus erythematosus: meta-analysis and meta-regression of observational studies from the 1950s to 2000s

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jun;41(6):830-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2011.11.002. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


Objective: To assess systemically with meta-analysis the trend of survival and its determinants, which are hindering further improvement of survival of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) over the past 5 decades.

Methods: Retrospective, cross-sectional, and prospective observational studies addressing survival and damage in SLE patients published between 1 January 1950 and 31 July 2010 were identified in electronic databases. Using the random-effects model, effect size was calculated based on the logit of the overall 5- and 10-year survival rates. The pooled logit and its robust 95% confidence interval were transformed back into the 5- and 10-year survival rates, after adjusting for potential dependence on the data. Potential factors predicting the pooled survival rates were explored by meta-regression.

Results: Seventy-seven studies involving 18,998 SLE patients were analyzed. Between the 1950s and the 2000s, their overall survival significantly increased, from 74.8% to 94.8% and 63.2% to 91.4% for the overall 5-year and 10-year survival, respectively (P < 0.001). The survival improvement, however, appeared to slow down between 1980 and 1990. Meta-regression revealed that neuropsychiatric and renal damage negatively affected the overall 5-year survival, whereas neuropsychiatric damage remained so for the 10-year survival for the past 50 years. Furthermore, the prevalence of neuropsychiatric damage has been significantly increasing over the past 5 decades.

Conclusions: For the past 50 years, damage involving the renal and neuropsychiatric systems has been negatively affecting survival of SLE patients. Early detection and aggressive management of renal and neuropsychiatric involvement may potentially improve further the survival of lupus patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate