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Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Jun;23(3):235-8. Epub 2004 Apr 14.

Risk of infection in hospitalised children with systemic lupus erythematosus: a 10-year follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, No. 7, Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


The objective of this study was to investigate infection and sepsis in hospitalised children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Between 1991 and 2000 we reviewed 72 episodes of suspected infection in 42 children with SLE from all hospitalised children with SLE at a medical center in Taiwan. Data comprised clinical and laboratory characteristics of SLE at the time of infection. Infections were identified and categorised as minor or major. A total of 125 patients (110 girls, 15 boys) were admitted 557 times. Forty-two patients had infections, giving an infection rate of 33.6%. There were a total of 72 infections including 20 proven infections; 61 cases of these were minor infections and 11 cases of these were major infections (10 cases were sepsis). Four patients died because of sepsis. By univariate analysis, major infection (sepsis) was significantly associated with a high SLE disease activity index score, lower complement levels and higher anti-DNA titres. In conclusion, our data confirm that infection is common in hospitalised children with SLE. Sepsis, most frequent in major infections, is associated with disease activity and causes significant mortality. These facts should be borne in mind when children with SLE are hospitalised.

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