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Ann Rheum Dis. 1991 Jul;50(7):490-2.

High prevalence of systemic disease and mortality in Asian subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Rheumatology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK.


All patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (American Rheumatism Association criteria with positive antinuclear antibody titre) and who attended any of the three general hospitals in Leicester over a 10 year period were ascertained using several complementary sources. Eighty seven subjects (26 Asian, 61 white) were identified. The estimated prevalence of SLE in Leicester is 0.4/1000 for Asian and 0.2/1000 for white subjects. Mean age of onset of the disease was 24 years in Asian and 31 years in white subjects, with both groups showing a female preponderance. Proteinuria (greater than 1 g/24 h) was noted in 15 (58%) Asian and 21 (35%) white subjects; neuropsychiatric disease in 10 (38%) Asian and 8 (13%) white subjects; myalgic symptoms with raised muscle enzymes in 9 (35%) Asian and 3 (5%) white subjects. Nineteen (73%) Asian subjects were positive for extractable nuclear antigens as well, at some stage of their disease, compared with 6 (10%) white subjects. Immunosuppressive treatment was required in 12 (46%) Asian and 12 (20%) white subjects, and deaths of seven Asian and five white subjects were attributed to SLE. These findings show that Asian subjects have a higher prevalence of SLE with greater systemic disease and mortality.

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