Pregnancy-related systemic lupus erythematosus: clinical features, outcome and risk factors of disease flares--a case control study

PLoS One. 2014 Aug 13;9(8):e104375. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104375. eCollection 2014.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors

Grant support

This work was partly supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81325019, 81172859, and 81273312), Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (7141008), the Research Special Fund for Public Welfare Industry of Health (20120217), the Capital Health Research and Development of Special (2011-4001-02), and the Youth Foundation of Peking Union Medical College Hospital (20110110). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.