With increasing longevity of lupus patients, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) has become an important cause of morbidity. With no systematic study of PVD in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this study was undertaken to define the frequency and spectrum of PVD in SLE and factors affecting such an occurrence. All medium-sized peripheral arteries of bilateral upper and lower extremities were studied in 50 SLE patients using Doppler ultrasonography. PVD was defined clinically as one or more of intermittent claudication, absent/unequal pulses, gangrene or ischemic ulcers and sub-clinically as asymptomatic patients with Doppler abnormalities, with ≥50% reduction in diameter considered hemodynamically significant. Mean (SD) age of the patients was 31.6 (10.1) years. Forty-one percent were hypertensive. Dyslipidemia was found in 62%. Fifteen (30%) had Raynaud's phenomenon. Fourteen (28%) patients had PVD, of whom three had positive markers for antiphospholipid antibody (aPL) and six were asymptomatic. Ischemic ulcers were seen in eight (16%), gangrene in three (6%), femoral artery plaques in two (4%), stenosis in four (8%) and intermittent claudication in none. Dyslipidemia was found to independently affect occurrence of PVD (OR = 5.37, [95% CI 1.05-27.5], P = 0.05). The causes of PVD overlap significantly and further studies are needed to ascertain the relative contribution of each. © 2007 SAGE Publications.