Clinical Features and Outcomes of Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus




To analyze the clinical features and outcomes of patients with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES), the risk factors of PRES-related intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), and all-cause mortality in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


Twenty-six episodes of PRES were identified in 23 SLE patients, using an electronic medical records database of 3,746 SLE patients.


The prevalence of PRES was 0.69% among SLE patients. The scores of the SLE Disease Activity Index without neurologic descriptors (SLEDAI-N) were significantly elevated from baseline for a mean of 3.3 during PRES (P = 0.009). Rapidly deteriorating renal function, pulmonary hemorrhage, thrombotic microangiopathy, macrophage activation syndrome, or multiple organ dysfunction syndrome appeared during 65.4% of episodes. In 16 episodes, patients completely recovered from PRES-related symptoms within a median of 7 days. Visual impairment was reversed within 2 days in 8 of 15 patients, but impairment in other patients was protracted for up to 4 months, especially when ICH was present. Hypoalbuminemia (<20 gm/liter; odds ratio [OR] 30, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2.04–441.84) and thrombocytopenia (<30,000/mm3; OR 21, 95% CI 1.27–346.93) were risk factors for PRES-related ICH. Patients with SLEDAI-N scores >18 during a PRES attack had significantly higher mortality rates than did patients with SLEDAI-N scores ≤18 (P = 0.009 by log rank test).


PRES frequently occurs during active SLE with multiple complications. Hypoalbuminemia and thrombocytopenia may contribute to PRES-related ICH. The extraneurologic disease activity of lupus during PRES may influence the mortality rate of SLE patients.