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Prognostic impact of atypical presentation in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus: results from a multicenter study.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study is to assess the rate of atypical manifestations at onset in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to evaluate their effect on disease outcome.

STUDY DESIGN: This is a multicenter retrospective cohort study. A manifestation was considered atypical if it was not included in the American College Rheumatology classification criteria for SLE but was reported in literature as associated with SLE. Unfavorable outcome was considered presence of organ damage in the Systemic Lupus International Collaborative Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index at the last available evaluation.

RESULTS: One hundred patients were enrolled in the study; 24% presented atypical clinical features at onset. Univariate analysis showed a significant association of worse outcome variables with the presence of atypical manifestations at onset (P = .004), as well as renal involvement (P = .027). A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that atypical manifestations at onset (P = .018), renal involvement at onset or during follow up (P = .024), and central nervous system disease involvement during follow up (P = .021) were independent predictors of poor prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data support a relatively high rate of atypical onset in pediatric SLE. Presence of atypical manifestations at presentation and early kidney disease correlate with poor outcome. Similarly, during follow-up, kidney and central nervous system diseases are associated with worse outcome.

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