Identification of patient subsets among those presumptively diagnosed with, referred, and/or followed up for systemic lupus erythematosus at a large tertiary care center

Academic Article


  • Objective. To identify different subsets of patients from a large tertiary care center who were presumptively referred for and/or diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (or followed up). Methods. All patients who were referred, followed up, and/or diagnosed with SLE at our center, who had disease duration of ≤5 years, and who resided in Alabama, were identified and their charts reviewed and abstracted. Results. Abstracted data were reviewed by 3 rheumatologists, and patients were assigned to 1 of 3 categories: 1) SLE by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR; formerly, the American Rheumatism Association) criteria, 2) clinical SLE but not meeting 4 of the ACR criteria, or 3) fibromyalgia‐like manifestations with antinuclear antibody (ANA) positivity. There were 90 patients in the first group (criteria), 22 in the second group (clinical), and 37 in the third group (fibromyalgia‐like). Patients in all 3 groups were predominantly women. Only 50% of the fibromyalgia‐like group were African‐American, compared with 55–65% for the other 2 groups. Organ system involvement occurred with comparable frequency in the first 2 groups, but mucocutaneous and hematologic abnormalities were more frequent in the criteria group; in contrast, the patients with fibromyalgia‐like symptoms primarily presented with arthralgias/myalgias, fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances, as well as mucocutaneous manifestations. Conclusion. When the ACR criteria for SLE are used to determine eligibility for lupus studies, a group of patients with clinically unequivocal SLE are excluded. A group of patients with fibromyalgia‐like manifestations, who test positive for ANA and differ clinically and sociodemographically from the patients in the other 2 groups, very likely do not belong within the spectrum of SLE. Copyright © 1995 American College of Rheumatology
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    Author List

  • Calvo‐Alén J; Bastian HM; Straaton KV; Burgard SL; Mikhail IS; Alarcón GS
  • Start Page

  • 1475
  • End Page

  • 1484
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 10