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Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) incur substantial morbidity and complications that may lead to hospitalizations and increased cost of lupus care. Researchers from the University Health Network in Toronto have published a review of SLE hospitalizations showing thta while commone (for either infection or lupus activity), only 2.8% of hospitalizations resulted in death.
They identified all SLE hospitalizations at University Health Network between 2011–2012 and 2013–2015 to assess cause, extent of hospitalizations, and outcomes.
They identified 247 SLE patients with a total of 491 hospitalizations. Most (87.4%) were women, with an average age of 43.9 years, and a mean disease duration of 13.7 years. Thus SLE patients was averaged 1.6 hospitalizations lasting 8.5 days.
Incidental causes, such as adverse drug reactions or pain, were the most common reason for admission (36.0%). Next most common were admissions were because of active SLE and infection (21.4% and 22.4%, respectively). ICU admission was required in 13% and 2.8% of hospitalizations resulted in death.
Fewer hospitalizations were seen in those who were employed, those on antimalarials or with higher educational level.
Damage related to lupus correlated with increased hospitalizations. and antimalarial use correlated with shorter length of stay.
Re-hospitalization was seen in nearly 40% of patients.