Background Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypical autoimmune disorder, which is known to have accelerated atherosclerosis, such as myocardial infarction.
Objectives We have investigated accelerated subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE patients using carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and carotid plaque, and tried to determine traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods One hundred-nine female Korean SLE patients and 52 age- and sex-matched normal controls (NC) were included. B-mode ultrasonography was used to measure carotid IMT and carotid plaque. Traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis and disease-related factors were recorded.
Results The age of SLE patients were 38.8±7 year-old, which was not different from the NC (36.9±5.5 year-old). The SLE was mild disease activity (SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) 4.28±3.11) with relative short disease duration (6.43±4.45 years). The carotid IMT of SLE was 0.411±0.083 mm, which was thicker than that of NC (0.322±0.081 mm, p<0.01). However, the carotid IMT of Korean SLE is lower than that of Caucasian SLE (0.68∼0.71 mm) (ref. 1). Also, there was no carotid plaque in the Korean SLE and NC. A significant correlation was found between carotid IMT and each of age (r=0.36, p<0.001), body mass index (BMI, r=0.2, p=0.036), and SLEDAI (r=0.21, p=0.013) in SLE patients. Also, it was significantly lower in SLE patients taking aspirin (0.364±0.09 vs. 0.416±0.089, p=0.015).
Conclusions Subclinical atherosclerosis occurs relatively rare in Korean SLE patients; however the carotid IMT of them is higher than Korean healthy controls. This subclinical accelerated atherosclerosis was correlated with traditional risk factor and lupus disease activity.
Roman MJ, Shanker BA, Davis A, et al. Prevalence and correlates of accelerated atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus. New Engl J Med 2003;349:2399-406
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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