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Lupus. 2001;10(7):491-5.

Subacute abdominal pain requiring hospitalization in a systemic lupus erythematosus patient: a retrospective analysis and review of the literature.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Ochsner Clinic and Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana 70121, USA.


In the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patient, abdominal pain is a common problem. Intraabdominal vasculitis must be excluded as the source because of its potentially high mortality rate. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 56 SLE patients with 75 admissions for predominantly subacute abdominal pain (abdominal pain without peritoneal signs) severe enough to require hospital admission, comparing the diagnostic modalities used, ultimate diagnoses, and use of corticosteroids before admission with 56 age- and sex-matched patients without SLE admitted for abdominal pain during the same time interval. SLE patients were further subdivided by disease activity at presentation using the SELENA SLEDAI score. The in-hospital mortality for all patients in this review was 0%. There were no statistically significant differences in the use of computed tomography between SLE and control patients. Intestinal vasculitis was diagnosed in 5.4% of SLE patients compared with 0% of control patients (P = 0.0433). Only patients with SLEDAI scores >8 developed vasculitis (P < 0.001). We recommend the routine use of computed tomography to diagnose vasculitis only in patients with SLEDAI scores >8 and subacute abdominal pain. All SLE patients with SLEDAI scores <8 and subacute abdominal pain should be evaluated for a cause of abdominal pain other than vasculitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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