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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Apr;40(5):447-54. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

Differences in disease features between childhood-onset and adult-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients presenting with acute abdominal pain.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Abdominal pain in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients has rarely been analyzed in pediatric populations. We planned to investigate the potential differences between childhood-onset and adult-onset SLE patients who were hospitalized because of acute abdominal pain.

METHODS:

A retrospective study including 23 childhood-onset SLE patients with 38 admissions and 88 adult-onset SLE patients with 108 admissions from 1999 to 2008 were conducted in our hospital. All of them had the chief complaint of diffuse abdominal pain.

RESULTS:

The etiologies of acute abdominal pain in adult-onset SLE patients were more diverse than childhood-onset SLE patients. The most common cause of acute abdominal pain in SLE patients was lupus mesenteric vasculitis (LMV) (18.5%), followed by acute gastroenteritis (14.4%), pancreatitis (10.3%), appendicitis (7.5%), and cholecystitis (6.2%). Compared with adults, children were admitted more often due to LMV (31.6% versus 13.9%; P = 0.016), had more frequently recurrent episodes (39.1% versus 14.8%; P = 0.009), and were more often treated with immunosuppressive agents (31.6% versus 7.4%; P < 0.001) at the time of admission. The overall case fatality rate of acute abdomen in SLE patients was 9.4%. The extra-gastrointestinal symptoms, laboratory evaluation, disease activity, and organ damage measured by the SLE Disease Activity Index and outcomes were comparable between children and adults.

CONCLUSIONS:

Various etiologies of acute abdominal pain should be considered in SLE patients. LMV is the most common cause of acute abdomen in childhood-onset SLE patients with low mortality and morbidity provided by prompt diagnosis and timely administration of high-dose intravenous corticosteroids after excluding real surgical abdomen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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