Objective The chronicity and severity of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE) necessitate effective transition from pediatric to adult providers. We studied transition outcomes in a cSLE cohort. Methods We identified patients at an adult lupus clinic diagnosed with SLE ≤ 18 years who had been followed by a pediatric rheumatologist. Data extracted from the first three years in adult care ("post-transition period") included: sociodemographics, depression, anxiety, SLE manifestations, SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/ACR Damage Index for SLE (SLICC) scores, non-adherence, and gaps in care (no appointments in the recommended time frame). Multivariable logistic regression analyses for predictors of: (1) time between pediatric and adult providers, (2) gaps in care, (3) unscheduled utilization (emergency department visits and admissions) (4) depression and/or anxiety were performed, as was a multivariable Poisson regression analysis for number of missed appointments. Results In 50 patients, SLEDAI scores were stable (mean 5.7 ± 5.0 at start vs. 4.7 ± 4.8 at year 3, p = 0.2), but SLICC scores increased (0.46 ± 0.84, vs. 0.78 ± 1.25, p = 0.01). Depression and anxiety increased significantly (10% vs. 26%, p = 0.02). Mean time from last pediatric to first adult provider visit was almost nine months (253 ± 392 days). Nearly 75% of patients had ≥ 1 gap in care. White race, low education level and non-adherence were significantly associated with missed appointments. Conclusion Despite moderate disease activity in this cSLE transition cohort, prolonged time between pediatric and adult providers and gaps in care in the post-transition period occurred. Anxiety and depression were frequently reported. Future work should identify methods to improve transition.
Keywords: Childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus; systemic lupus erythematosus; transition.