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QJM. 2009 May;102(5):321-8. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcp015. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Osteoarticular tuberculosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients are at increased risk of developing tuberculosis (TB), particularly extrapulmonary TB (ExP-TB).

AIM:

The present study was undertaken to investigate whether SLE patients showed increased susceptibility to develop osteoarticular TB (OA-TB).

DESIGN AND METHODS:

We retrospectively reviewed and compared the frequency of ExP-TB, in particular OA-TB, in patients with SLE at a tertiary hospital in South Africa, to a non-SLE control TB group seen at the same hospital.

RESULTS:

TB was diagnosed 111 times in 97 (17%) of the 568 SLE patients. The relative frequency of ExP-TB in the SLE group (25.2%) was significantly lower than in the control group (38.5%) (OR = 1.9, P = 0.006). In contrast, OA-TB was diagnosed in the SLE group in nine (8.1%) patients (seven with peripheral arthritis and two with TB spine) compared to 54 (0.4%) in the overall control group (OR = 20.8, P < 0.001) and 13 (0.2%) in the subgroup of known HIV positive patients in the control group (OR = 44.4, P < 0.001). Within the SLE group, Black ethnicity (P = 0.003), lymphopaenia (P = 0.001), C3/C4 hypocomplementaemia (P = 0.05), corticosteroids [maximum dose (P = 0.002) and duration of treatment (P = 0.02)] and immunosuppressive agents (P = 0.02) were risk factors for TB. Duration of corticosteroid therapy was the only risk factor for OA-TB (P = 0.04).

CONCLUSION:

While the relative frequency of ExP-TB was lower in the SLE group compared to the control group, our findings suggest that SLE patients are at particular risk of developing OA-TB. Further prospective studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms that predispose SLE patients to OA-TB.

PMID:
19246552
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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