alexa Systemic lupus erythematosus and infections: a retrospective study in Saudis.


Lupus: Open Access

Author(s): AlRayes H, AlSwailem R, Arfin M, Sobki S, Rizvi S

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This study demonstrates demographic, clinical and laboratory characteristics with special reference to infections in Saudi patients with SLE. One-hundred and ninety-nine patients with SLE treated at Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, Saudi Arabia over a period of 15 years (1990-2005) were retrospectively reviewed. There were 162 females and 37 males (4.4 : 1) with an average age of 35 years at onset of disease. Duration of diseases ranged from one to 23 years with a mean of 7.23 years. Some of the clinical characteristics of SLE patients observed were nephritis (53.7%), fever (53.26%), neuropsychological disorder (36.18%), malar/butterfly rash (27.6%), pulmonary disorder (22.6%), photosensitivity (21.6%), cardiac involvement (21.1%) and oral ulcers (19.09%). Infection was the major complication with 58.79% of SLE patient having suffered from various infections. A total of 22 species of pathogens including gram positive and gram negative bacteria, viruses and fungi were isolated from 117 SLE patients. Single to multiple episode of infection with various pathogens were recorded however, majority of patients harboured one or two species of pathogens. Bacterial infection was predominant (78.6%) followed by viral (28.2%) and fungal (28.2%) infections. Forty-four percent of SLE patients were found to be infected with organisms classified as opportunistic. The high incidence of infections in SLE patients may be attributed to the multiple intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors including deficiency of complement (C3 and C4), disease activity, renal impairment, use of glucocorticoid and cytotoxic drugs. It is concluded that more judicious use of corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents will be critical to limit the infections in SLE and a high alert and close monitoring of patients will ensure optimal patient outcome, both in terms of morbidity and mortality.

This article was published in Lupus and referenced in Lupus: Open Access

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