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Systemic lupus erythematosus in Saudi children: long-term outcomes


  • Sulaiman M. Al-Mayouf

    Corresponding author
    • Section of Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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Correspondence: Dr Sulaiman M. Al-Mayouf, Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, PO Box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.




To report the long-term outcome of Saudi children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


Charts of all children with SLE treated between 1990 and 2010 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center Riyadh, were reviewed. The long-term outcome measured by pediatric adaptation of the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (pSDI) and death related to SLE were determined. The data included: gender, age at disease onset, clinical features and treatment at last follow-up visit.


One hundred and fifty-two patients (129 girls and 23 boys) were included. The mean age at onset of SLE was 8.8 ± 2.6 years, while the mean age at diagnosis was 9.5 ± 2.6 years and the mean disease duration was 7.5 ± 4.6 years. All patients were treated with corticosteroid and immunosuppressive drugs. Eighty (52.6%) patients had damage with a mean SDI score of 1.3 ± 1.7. Damage accrual was mostly in the growth (26.8%), renal (17.1%) and neuropsychiatric (15.8%) domains. Due to progressive renal disease, 14 patients required dialysis; five of them underwent renal transplant. There were nine deaths related to SLE, eight of them due to infection. Based on logistic regression, patient disease damage was significantly associated with young age at disease onset and long disease duration. Similarly, death related to SLE was influenced by early-onset disease. In contrast, gender, disease duration and therapy did not affect the suggested outcome measures.


Our results are comparable to reports from other tertiary centers. Early-onset disease probably influences the long-term outcome of SLE in children. Infection remains an important cause of death in children with SLE.