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Abstract

Objective

To examine the accumulation of risk factors over 3 years in a multicenter, international inception cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods

The Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics registry for atherosclerosis comprises 27 centers from 11 countries. An inception cohort of 935 patients with SLE was assembled, according to a standardized protocol, from 2000 to 2006 to study risk factors for atherosclerosis. Both classic and other coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors were collected at entry and through 3 years of followup. Therapy was documented over the 3 years. The Framingham 10-year risk factor profile was calculated for each patient at year 1 and year 3.

Results

A total of 278 patients from the inception cohort were followed for 3 years and constituted the population for this study. At enrollment a substantial number of patients already demonstrated several risk factors for CAD, both classic and other. All risk factors increased from enrollment over the 3 years of followup. Treatment of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia also increased over 3 years, but less so for hypercholesterolemia. The Framingham 10-year CAD risk profile was higher in men than in women both at entry and at 3 years, and remained unchanged over the 3 years. Corticosteroid use increased only slightly over 3 years, but use of antimalarials and immunosuppressive agents increased to a greater extent.

Conclusion

Patients with SLE should be monitored for CAD risk factors from the time of diagnosis and appropriate treatment should be instituted early.