To determine if systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in select patients undergoing coronary angiography. We compared the extent of angiographic abnormalities, CAD risk factors, and all-cause mortality in SLE patients with non-SLE controls.


We identified SLE patients (n = 86) and controls matched by sex and year of cardiac catheterization (n = 258) undergoing cardiac catheterization for the evaluation of CAD (median followup duration of 4.3 years). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine if SLE was associated with obstructive CAD, defined as ≥70% stenosis in a major epicardial coronary artery. Risk-adjusted survival differences between the 2 groups were assessed using Cox proportional hazards modeling.


The SLE patients (85% women) were younger than the non-SLE patients (median age 49 years versus 70 years; P < 0.001) and were less likely to have diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia, but had similar rates of hypertension (70% versus 71%; P = 0.892). In unadjusted analyses, SLE and non-SLE patients had similar rates of obstructive CAD by angiography (52% versus 62%; overall P = 0.11). After adjustment for known CAD risk factors, SLE was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of CAD (odds ratio 2.24 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.08–4.67]). SLE was also associated with a nonsignificant increase in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 1.683 [95% CI 0.98–2.89], P = 0.060).


In this selected population, SLE was significantly associated with the presence of CAD as defined by coronary angiography, the gold standard for assessing flow-limiting lesions in this disease. The patients with SLE showed a similar severity of CAD as the controls despite having less than half the rate of diabetes mellitus and being 20 years younger.