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Lupus. 2013 Feb;22(2):216-22. doi: 10.1177/0961203312468626. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Causes of mortality among inpatients with systemic lupus erythematosus in a tertiary care hospital in North India over a 10-year period.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disorder with significant morbidity and mortality. The present study was undertaken to identify the causes of in-hospital mortality of patients with SLE.


This was a retrospective study. The hospital records of patients with SLE who died between 1998 and 2007 were reviewed. Demographic details, organ involvement, treatment received and evidence of infection were recorded. Disease activity was calculated using the SLE Disease Activity Index. The cause of death of each patient was determined and this information was classified into either deaths caused primarily due to SLE, deaths caused due to infection or those that were multi-factorial.


Seventeen patients with SLE who were diagnosed according to the revised American College of Rheumatology criteria died between 1998 and 2007. Fifteen of these patients were female and two were male. The median age was 25 years. The average duration of hospital stay was 10.29 days. Seven patients (41%) died of active SLE (three from pulmonary hemorrhage, two had renal failure, one had myocarditis and one had severe thrombocytopenia with upper gastrointestinal bleed), three patients (18%) died from infections (one contracted Staphylococcal septicemia, another contracted tuberculous meningitis and the third patient had Pseudomonas septicemia) and in seven patients (41%) the etiology was multi-factorial (these showed both active SLE and evidence of infection). In total 10 patients had evidence of infection, two of these were community-acquired and the rest were hospital-acquired.


Active SLE and/or infection are the major causes of death in hospitalised patients with SLE. To reduce patient mortality improvements in supportive care for patients with active SLE and measures to prevent hospital-acquired infections are required.

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