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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Sep;66(9):2494-502. doi: 10.1002/art.38720.

Prevalence and incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus in a population-based registry of American Indian and Alaska Native people, 2007-2009.

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Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage.



Few studies have investigated the epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in American Indian and Alaska Native populations. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and incidence of SLE in the Indian Health Service (IHS) active clinical population in 3 regions of the US.


For this population-based registry within the IHS, the denominator consisted of individuals in the IHS active clinical population in 2007, 2008, and/or 2009 and residing in a community in 1 of 3 specified regions. Potential SLE cases were identified based on the presence of a diagnostic code for SLE or related disorder in the IHS National Data Warehouse. Detailed medical record abstraction was performed for each potential case. The primary case definition was documentation in the medical record of ≥4 of the revised American College of Rheumatology criteria for the classification of SLE. Prevalence was calculated for 2007, and the mean annual incidence was calculated for the years 2007 through 2009.


The age-adjusted prevalence and incidence of SLE according to the primary definition were 178 per 100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 157-200) and 7.4 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 5.1-10.4). Among women, the age-adjusted prevalence was 271, and the age-adjusted incidence was 10.4. The prevalence was highest in women ages 50-59 years and in the Phoenix Area IHS.


The first population-based lupus registry in the US American Indian and Alaska Native population has demonstrated that the prevalence and incidence of SLE are high. Our estimates are as high as or higher than the rates reported in the US black population.

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