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Neurology. 2001 Aug 14;57(3):496-500.

The prevalence of neuropsychiatric syndromes in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Finland.



To describe the prevalence of neuropsychiatric (NP) syndromes in a Finnish population of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to classify them according to the recently developed American College of Rheumatology (ACR) nomenclature and case definitions for NPSLE.


Cross-sectional, population-based study covering an area with 440,000 people. A total of 58 patients with a definite diagnosis of SLE and aged 16 to 65 years were found in the computerized database of the area hospitals. Of these, 46 (79%) agreed to participate. The diagnosis of various NP syndromes was based on clinical impression (H.A.) following history, examination, review of medical records, and neuropsychologic testing.


At least one NP syndrome was identified in 42 patients (91%). The most frequent manifestation was cognitive dysfunction (n = 37; 81%), followed by headache (n = 25; 54%) and mood disorder (n = 20; 43%). When mild NP syndromes (mild cognitive deficit, headache, mild depression, anxiety, electroneuromyography-negative polyneuropathy) were excluded, the prevalence of NPSLE dropped to 46%.


According to the ACR nomenclature, there is a high prevalence of NP manifestations in a population-based sample of patients with SLE. Most NP syndromes were classified as minor; if they were excluded, the 46% prevalence of NPSLE would be slightly less than estimated in previous studies.

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