Peripheral nervous system disease in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: results from an international, inception cohort study

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  • Dalhousie University


Objectives: In a multi-ethnic/racial, prospective SLE inception cohort, to determine the frequency, clinical characteristics, associations and outcomes in different types of peripheral nervous system (PNS) disease.

Methods: Patients were evaluated annually for 19 neuropsychiatric (NP) events including seven types of PNS disease. SLE disease activity, organ damage, autoantibodies, patient and physician assessment of outcome were measured. Time to event and linear regressions were used as appropriate.

Results: Of 1,827 SLE patients, 88.8% were female, 48.8% Caucasian. The meanSD age was 35.1±13.3 years, disease duration at enrollment 5.64.2 months and follow-up 7.64.6 years. There were 161 PNS events in 139/1,827 (7.6%) patients. The predominant events were peripheral neuropathy [66/161 (41.0%)], mononeuropathy [44/161 (27.3%)] and cranial neuropathy [39/161 (24.2%)] and the majority were attributed to SLE. Multivariate Cox regressions suggested longer time to resolution in patients with prior history of neuropathy, older age at SLE diagnosis, higher SLEDAI-2K scores, and for peripheral neuropathy versus other neuropathies. Neuropathy was associated with significantly lower SF-36 physical and mental component summary scores versus patients without NP events. By physician assessment, the majority of neuropathies resolved or improved over time and this was associated with improvements in SF-36 summary scores for peripheral neuropathy and mononeuropathy.

Conclusion: PNS disease is an important component of total NPSLE and has a significant negative impact on health related quality of life. The outcome is favourable for most patients, but we noted several factors associated with longer time to resolution.


Original languageEnglish
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019