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Abstract

Background  It has become clear that the morbidity and mortality of patients with lupus and cardiovascular disease (CVD) have substantially increased. Therefore, we designed a retrospective case–control study to assess the prevalence of traditional and lupus-specific risk factors for CVD in Chinese systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.

Objective  To identify the prevalence and correlation of conventional and lupus-specific risk factors for CVD in Chinese SLE patients.

Methods  One hundred and thirty-nine patients with SLE were enrolled in the study. They were compared with 139 age and gender-matched controls, who had no history of SLE or CVD. Among 139 SLE patients, there were 38 with CVD. We compared them with 38 SLE patients without CVD, matching for disease duration and age. Data regarding classic and lupus-specific risk factors were assessed between the two groups.

Results  Hypertension, serum creatinine and diabetes mellitus were more prevalent among SLE than the controls (< 0.05). The patients with SLE were more likely to have elevated total, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels than the controls (< 0.001). However, high-density lipoprotein levels in SLE patients were lower than that in controls (= 0.019). After being compared with SLE patients without CVD, the patients with both SLE and CVD were more likely to have elevated serum creatinine, proteinuria, the presence of anti-Sm antibody and decreased complement 4 (C4) levels (< 0.05). Moreover, the patients with both diseases were less likely to be treated with hydroxychloroquine (< 0.05). In multivariable analysis, elevated serum creatinine, proteinuria, decreased C4 levels, the presence of anti-Sm antibody and the lack of using hydroxychloroquine were independent risk factors for CVD (< 0.05).

Conclusions  We are able to identify some conventional and lupus-specific risk factors for CVD in Chinese SLE patients.