Background: Cardiovascular disease represents an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), due to a complex interplay between traditional risk factors and disregulation of autoimmunity but uncertainty is still present about the most important predictors of cardiovascular events.
Objectives: The aim of our work was to perform a collaborative systematic review on the main predictors of cardiovascular events in SLE patients.
Methods: PubMed and Cochrane were systematically searched for eligible studies on SLE and cardiovascular events between January 2008 and December 2012. Study features, patient characteristics and incidence of stent thrombosis were abstracted and pooled, when appropriate, with random-effect methods (point estimate - 95% confidence intervals) and consistency of predictors was formally appraised.
Results: A total of 17,187 patients was included; of those, 93.1% were female and the median age was 39 years. After a median follow-up period of 8 years, cardiovascular events presented in 25.4%, including acute myocardial infarction (4.1%) and stroke (7.3%). The most important predictors may be divided into traditional risk factors, such as male gender (OR 6.2, CI 95% 1.49-25), hyperlipidaemia (OR 3.9, CI 95% 1.57-9.71), familiar history of cardiac disease (OR 3.6, CI 95% 1.15-11.32) and hypertension (OR 3.5, CI 95% 1.65-7.54), and SLE-related features, such as the presence of auto-antibodies (OR 5.8 and 5.0, CI 95% 3.28-7.78) and neurological disorders (OR 5.2, CI 95% 2.0-13.9). A low correlation was shown for the importance of organ damage and SLE activity (respectively OR 1.4, CI 95% 1.09-4.44 and OR 1.2, CI 95% 1.2-1.2), as well as for age at diagnosis (OR 1.1, CI 95% 1.07-1.17).
Conclusions: Cardiovascular events in SLE patients are caused by a multifactorial mechanism, including both traditional and disease-specific risk factors. A global valuation with an individual risk stratification based on both these features is important to correctly manage these patients in order to reduce negative outcomes.
Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosus; cardiovascular events; predictors.
© The European Society of Cardiology 2014.