Incidence of Kidney Replacement Therapy and Subsequent Outcomes Among Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Findings From the ERA Registry

Am J Kidney Dis. 2022 May;79(5):635-645. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2021.09.016. Epub 2021 Nov 6.


Rationale & objective: There is a dearth of data characterizing patients receiving kidney replacement therapy (KRT) for kidney failure due to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and their clinical outcomes. The aim of this study was to describe trends in incidence and prevalence of KRT among these patients as well as to compare their outcomes versus those of patients treated with KRT for diseases other than SLE.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study based on kidney registry data.

Setting & participants: Patients recorded in 14 registries of patients receiving KRT that provided data to the European Renal Association Registry between 1992 and 2016.

Predictor: SLE as cause of kidney failure.

Outcomes: Incidence and prevalence of KRT, patient survival while receiving KRT, patient and graft survival after kidney transplant, and specific causes of death.

Analytical approach: Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox regression models were fit to compare patient survival between the SLE and non-SLE groups, overall KRT, dialysis, and patient and graft survival after kidney transplant.

Results: In total, 1,826 patients commenced KRT for kidney failure due to SLE, representing an incidence of 0.80 per million population (pmp) per year. The incidence remained stable during the study period (annual percent change, 0.1% [95% CI, -0.6% to 0.8%]). Patient survival among patients with SLE receiving KRT was similar to survival in the comparator group (hazard ratio [HR], 1.11 [95% CI, 0.99-1.23]). After kidney transplant, the risk of death was greater among patients with SLE than among patients in the comparator group (HR, 1.25 [95% CI, 1.02-1.53]), whereas the risk of all-cause graft failure was similar (HR, 1.09 [95% CI, 0.95-1.27]). Ten-year patient overall survival during KRT and patient and graft survival after kidney transplant improved over the study period (HRs of 0.71 [95% CI, 0.56-0.91], 0.43 [95% CI, 0.27-0.69], and 0.60 [95% CI, 0.43-0.84], respectively). Patients with SLE receiving KRT were significantly more likely to die of infections (24.8%) than patients in the comparator group (16.9%; P < 0.001).

Limitations: No data were available on extrarenal manifestations of SLE, drug treatments, comorbidities, kidney transplant characteristics, or relapses of SLE.

Conclusions: The prognosis of patients with SLE receiving KRT has improved over time. Survival of patients with SLE who required KRT was similar compared with patients who required KRT for other causes of kidney failure. Survival following kidney transplants was worse among patients with SLE.

Keywords: Europe; Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); end-stage renal disease (ESRD); incidence; kidney disease; kidney failure; kidney replacement therapy (KRT); kidney transplantation; lupus nephritis (LN); prevalence; prognosis; registry study; survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / epidemiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / therapy
  • Lupus Nephritis*
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Renal Insufficiency* / complications
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / methods
  • Retrospective Studies