Research shows persisting mortality gap between systemic lupus erythematosus patients and the general population
July 6, 2021 (Vancouver) – A new study has revealed that the risk of premature mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients compared to the general population has not improved in recent years.
Scientists examined two time periods, 1997-2005 and 2006-2014, and observed a 95 per cent and 74 per cent increased risk of overall deaths due to SLE relative to the general population in each time period, respectively. Therefore, there was no significant improvement between the two time periods.
Scientists observed similar excess mortality due to kidney disease, infections and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and blood clots in the legs and lungs) during these time periods. Deaths caused by these complications were also highest in the first year after initial diagnosis. However, there was no excess mortality from cancer in either period.
“Mortality rates for systemic lupus erythematosus patients are not improving over time and this is concerning,” said Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, a rheumatologist and senior scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “Previous research showed improvements in mortality from the 1970s to 2000s but these recent findings highlight a need for further interventions in managing this disease.”
Aviña-Zubieta added that such interventions could include the development of new therapeutic agents, strategies for earlier disease detection and more comprehensive measures in the management of serious, life-threatening complications.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is associated with significant premature mortality caused by kidney disease, infections and cardiovascular disease.
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