Associated factors to serious infections in a large cohort of juvenile-onset systemic lupus erythematosus from Lupus Registry (RELESSER)

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2020 Aug;50(4):657-662. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.05.016. Epub 2020 May 30.


Objective: To assess the incidence of serious infection (SI) and associated factors in a large juvenile-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (jSLE) retrospective cohort.

Methods: All patients in the Spanish Rheumatology Society Lupus Registry (RELESSER) who meet ≥4 ACR-97 SLE criteria and disease onset <18 years old (jSLE), were retrospectively investigated for SI (defined as either the need for hospitalization with antibacterial therapy for a potentially fatal infection or death caused by the infection). Standardized SI rate was calculated per 100 patient years. Patients with and without SI were compared. Bivariate and multivariate logistic and Cox regression models were built to calculate associated factors to SI and relative risks.

Results: A total of 353 jSLE patients were included: 88.7% female, 14.3 years (± 2.9) of age at diagnosis, 16.0 years (± 9.3) of disease duration and 31.5 years (±10.5) at end of follow-up. A total of 104 (29.5%) patients suffered 205 SI (1, 55.8%; 2-5, 38.4%; and ≥6, 5.8%). Incidence rate was 3.7 (95%CI: 3.2-4.2) SI per 100 patient years. Respiratory location and bacterial infections were the most frequent. Higher number of SLE classification criteria, SLICC/ACR DI score and immunosuppressants use were associated to the presence of SI. Associated factors to shorter time to first infection were higher number of SLE criteria, splenectomy and immunosuppressants use.

Conclusions: The risk of SI in jSLE patients is significant and higher than aSLE. It is associated to higher number of SLE criteria, damage accrual, some immunosuppressants and splenectomy.

Keywords: Juvenile-onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; RELESSER; Serious Infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Incidence
  • Infections / epidemiology*
  • Infections / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents