Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Study: Premature Mortality Rates in SLE Unchanged

Rheumatology (Oxford); ePub 2017 Nov 7; Jorge, et al

Excess mortality has not improved among systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients in recent years, remaining greater than double that of comparators, unlike rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during the same period, according to a recent general, population-based, cohort study. This highlights a critical unmet need for the development of new therapeutic agents and improved management strategies for SLE and its comorbidities. Researchers used a medical records database and identified incident SLE cases and matched non-SLE controls between 1999 and 2014, divided into 2 subgroups based on year of SLE diagnosis, forming the early cohort (1999–2006) and late cohort (2007–2014). They identified 1,470 and 1,666 incident SLE cases in the early and late cohorts, respectively. They found:

  • In both cohorts, SLE patients had similar levels of excess mortality compared with their matched comparators [15.9 vs 7.9 deaths/1,000 person-years (PY) in the early cohort and 13.8 vs 7.0 deaths/1,000 PY in the late cohort].
  • The corresponding mortality hazard ratios were 2.15 and 2.12 in the early and late cohorts, respectively.
  • The absolute mortality differences were 8.0 and 6.8 deaths/1,000 PY, respectively.


Jorge AM, Lu N, Zhang Y, Rai SK, Choi HK. Unchanging premature mortality trends in systemic lupus erythematosus: A general population-based study (1999–2014). [Published online ahead of print November 7, 2017]. Rheumatology (Oxford). doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kex412.

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