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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2004 Sep;24(3):241-4.

Systemic lupus erythematosus in Trinidadian children.

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Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad.


Thirty-three children with a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were studied. At diagnosis, 29 of them (88%) were aged between 10 and 17 years and the other four (12%) between 5 and 9 years. The majority were girls (28, 82%) and the male:female ratio was 1:6.6. Children of East Indian and mixed racial origin formed the largest groups (37 and 39%, respectively) and mortality was higher in these two groups. The most common symptoms at diagnosis were: fever for > 1 week (75.8%), musculoskeletal symptoms (arthralgia, arthritis and myalgia (69.7%) and renal involvement (63.6%). Malar and discoid rashes were common, 39 and 37%, respectively. Central nervous system involvement at presentation was a rare but important cause of mortality. The mortality rate during follow-up was high at 39.3% and the commonest cause of death was renal failure. Childhood SLE is uncommon in Trinidad and Tobago. Diagnosis is often delayed because of the protean and non-specific manifestations. This study reports a higher prevalence, a more severe course and greater mortality in children of East Indian and mixed descent than in children of African origin. It also shows that the symptomatology at first presentation is consistent with other studies and should be recognised early. Early diagnosis and prompt and appropriate management are essential in order to reduce the high mortality still associated with SLE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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