Cardiovascular Events in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Nationwide Study in Spain From the RELESSER Registry

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Jul;94(29):e1183. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001183.


This article estimates the frequency of cardiovascular (CV) events that occurred after diagnosis in a large Spanish cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and investigates the main risk factors for atherosclerosis. RELESSER is a nationwide multicenter, hospital-based registry of SLE patients. This is a cross-sectional study. Demographic and clinical variables, the presence of traditional risk factors, and CV events were collected. A CV event was defined as a myocardial infarction, angina, stroke, and/or peripheral artery disease. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate the possible risk factors for atherosclerosis. From 2011 to 2012, 3658 SLE patients were enrolled. Of these, 374 (10.9%) patients suffered at least a CV event. In 269 (7.4%) patients, the CV events occurred after SLE diagnosis (86.2% women, median [interquartile range] age 54.9 years [43.2-66.1], and SLE duration of 212.0 months [120.8-289.0]). Strokes (5.7%) were the most frequent CV event, followed by ischemic heart disease (3.8%) and peripheral artery disease (2.2%). Multivariate analysis identified age (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.03 [1.02-1.04]), hypertension (1.71 [1.20-2.44]), smoking (1.48 [1.06-2.07]), diabetes (2.2 [1.32-3.74]), dyslipidemia (2.18 [1.54-3.09]), neurolupus (2.42 [1.56-3.75]), valvulopathy (2.44 [1.34-4.26]), serositis (1.54 [1.09-2.18]), antiphospholipid antibodies (1.57 [1.13-2.17]), low complement (1.81 [1.12-2.93]), and azathioprine (1.47 [1.04-2.07]) as risk factors for CV events. We have confirmed that SLE patients suffer a high prevalence of premature CV disease. Both traditional and nontraditional risk factors contribute to this higher prevalence. Although it needs to be verified with future studies, our study also shows-for the first time-an association between diabetes and CV events in SLE patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain
  • White People