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Causes of Death in Lupus

Oct 03, 2022 6:41 pm

The California Lupus Surveillance Project has longitudinally followed included systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cases and shown that overall, the leading cause of death was cardiovascular disease (CVD), followed by rheumatic disease and hematologic/oncologic conditions.

While it is known that non-White populations are at higher risk of developing SLE and have more severe outcomes and mortality.  This cohort was enrolled between 2007 and 2009 and followed > 10 years.  The cohort of 812 SLE patients included Whites (38%), Asians (36%), Blacks (20%), and mixed/other/unknown (5%) race; 15% were identified as Hispanic.

The leading causes of death were:

  • Cardiovascular disease (33%) - Lupus patients had a ~4 fold higher rate of CV deaths compared to the general population.
  • Rheumatic disease (18%)
  • Hematologic/oncologic conditions (18%). CVD deaths for those with SLE were nearly 4 and 6 times higher for Asian and Hispanic individuals with SLE, respectively, compared to the general population.

While the above deaths apply to all SLE patients, SLE CVD deaths in particular were ~4 and 6 times higher for Asian and Hispanic SLE patients.

Targeted intervention, especially in non-White populations, are needed to reduce lupus mortality in the USA.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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