Objective: To investigate the clinical features, outcome, and risk factors of disease flares in patients with pregnancy-related lupus (PRL).
Methods: Medical charts of 155 consecutive PRL inpatients were systematically reviewed, including demographic data, clinical features, laboratory findings, treatment, complications, and outcome.
Results: PRL cases were divided into active (a-PRL) (n = 82, 53.0%) and stable lupus (s-PRL) (n = 73, 47.0%). Compared with nonpregnant active female systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, a-PRL including new-onset lupus (n-PRL) and flare lupus (f-PRL) (n = 41 respectively), had a higher incidence of renal and hematological involvement but less mucocutaneous and musculoskeletal involvement (p<0.05). The incidence of preeclampsia/eclampsia, fetal loss, and preterm birth were significantly higher in a-PRL than in s-PRL (p<0.05). Despite receiving a more vigorous glucocorticoid treatment, a-PRL mothers had a poorer prognosis (p<0.001). Five (6.1%) of them died and 13 (15.9%) developed severe irreversible organ failure, whereas none of these events was observed in the s-PRL group. Multivariate logistic analysis indicated that a history of lupus flares and serological activity (hypocomplementemia and/or anti-dsDNA positivity) at the time of conception were associated with lupus flares in PRL mothers.
Conclusions: SLE patients with a flare history and serological activity at the time of conception were at an increased risk of disease flares during pregnancy and puerperium. a-PRL patients were more prone to renal and hematological involvement, pregnancy complications, and a poorer prognosis despite more vigorous glucocorticoid treatment.