Skin is the most frequently damaged system in recent-onset systemic lupus erythematosus in a tropical region

Maria José Pereira Vilar, Elaine Lira Medeiros Bezerra, Emilia Inoue Sato
Clinical Rheumatology 2005, 24 (4): 377-80
The objective of this study was to evaluate the early damage as measured by the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SLICC/ACR DI) in Brazilian systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients with disease duration of 2 and 3 years and to evaluate the possible association between SLICC/ACR DI score and sociodemographic and clinical data. The SLICC/ACR DI was measured in 54 patients with SLE according to the ACR criteria for SLE and a mean (SD) disease duration of 29 (3.8) months. The patients were provided by outpatient clinics and hospitals of the public health network and private clinics in the city of Natal in Brazil. The SLICC/ACR DI scores for each type of organ damage, prevalence of damage within organ systems, and the association with sociodemographic variables were assessed. Disease duration was considered as the time from diagnosis until the study. Organ damage was present in 18 (33%) of the 54 patients while 36 patients (67%) had no damage. The skin (11%), renal (9%), and pulmonary (7.4%) systems were the most frequently involved, followed by the neuropsychiatric and musculoskeletal systems, premature gonadal failure, and diabetes. The most frequent individual items on the SLICC/ACR DI were scarring chronic alopecia and pleural fibrosis. No association was demonstrated between organ damage (SLICC/ACR scores) and sociodemographic and clinical variables. Early organ damage demonstrated in Brazilian patients with SLE was similar to other populations studied in the world, despite a low socioeconomic status. In contrast to reports in other studies, a cutaneous lesion was the most frequent cause of damage in our patients.

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