Clinical Edge

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Frequent ED Utilization Among Persons with SLE

Arthritis Care Res; ePub 2018 Oct 8; Lee, Lin, et al

Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) persistently utilizing the emergency department (ED) for pain are likely to be non‐critically ill, as evidenced by frequent discharges from the ED and short stay admissions, a recent study found. Researchers conducted a retrospective study of SLE patients who frequented the ED for ≥3 visits in a calendar year from 2013‐2016. Persistent users met criteria for frequent use for at least 2 out of the 4 years, and limited users for 1 out of the 4 years. They found:

  • 77 participants having 1,143 encounters as persistent users were identified, as well as 52 participants having 335 encounters as limited users.
  • Persistent users accounted for 77% of ED use by SLE patients who frequented the ED.
  • Pain‐related ED visits were more common among persistent users (32%) than limited users (18%).
  • Among persistent users, most pain‐related encounters were discharged from the ED (69%) or within 48 hours of admission (20%).
  • Persistent users with pain‐related encounters accounting for >10% of ED use were more likely to be obese, have fewer comorbid conditions, and be on long-term oxygen therapy.


Lee J, Lin J, Suter LS, Fraenkel L. Persistently frequent emergency department utilization among persons with systemic lupus erythematosus. [Published online ahead of print October 8, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23777.