Data related to the disease course of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with special attention to the persistence of disease activity in the long term are scarce. At this moment reliable figures are only known about the survival rate as a measure of outcome. The aim of this multicenter study was to describe the outcome of SLE patients with a disease duration of greater than 10 y. Outcome parameters were two disease activity-scoring systems (SLEDAI and ECLAM), the end organ damage (SLICC/ACR damage index) and treatment. Our results are derived from 187 SLE patients followed at 10 different centres in Europe over a period of 1 y. Serious clinical signs or exacerbations, defined by the occurrence or detoriation of already existing symptoms of renal and cerebral nervous systems were observed in 2-11% of the patients, seizures and psychosis in 3%, proteinuria in 11% and an increase in serum creatinine in 5% of the patients. No change took place in the overall damage index. Yet, the disease course in most patients was characterized by periods of tiredness (42-60%), arthritis (20-25%), skin involvement such as malar rash (32-40%), migraine (15-20%), anaemia (15%) and leucopenia (17-19%). Summarizing these results it is shown that patients, still under care after such a long time of having this disease, do have a disease that is far from extinguished.
ASJC Scopus subject areas