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Med J Malaysia. 1996 Dec;51(4):437-41.

Mortality in Malaysians with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, St. George's Hospital, Medical School, Tooting, London, United Kingdom.


One hundred and two patients attending the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) clinic of the Department of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, were studied retrospectively to determine their survival rates and causes of death. There were 21 deaths. The 1, 5, and 10 year survival rates were 93%, 86% and 70% respectively. There was a bimodal pattern of mortality with more patients dying in the first 2 years or after 5 years of disease. Infection was the direct cause of death in 52% and contributed to a further 19% of deaths. Patients with lupus nephritis had a higher relative risk (RR) of death (RR = 4.34, p < 0.02) although there was no significant increase in risk with any particular histological type on biopsy. Cerebral lupus (RR = 3.08, p < 0.001) and methylprednisolone treatment (RR = 6.24, p < 0.001) were also associated with increased risk of death. Increased awareness of infection and earlier use of antibiotic therapy may improve survival of patients suffering from SLE.

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