Ann Rheum Dis 73:1646-1651 doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202758
  • Clinical and epidemiological research
  • Extended report

Adverse outcomes after major surgery in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a nationwide population-based study

  1. Ta-Liang Chen1,2
  1. 1Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  3. 3Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yet-Sen University, Guangdong, People's Republic of China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ta-Liang Chen, Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Medical University Hospital, 252 Wuxing St., Taipei 11031, Taiwan; tlc{at}
  • Accepted 12 May 2013
  • Published Online First 5 June 2013


Objectives To investigate the postoperative adverse outcomes among surgical patients with preoperative systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a nationwide population-based study.

Methods We used Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database to identify 4321 surgical inpatients with SLE and 17 284 sex- and age-matched controls receiving major surgery. Sociodemographic characteristics, preoperative comorbidities, postoperative 30-day in-hospital major complications and mortality were analysed among surgical patients with and without SLE.

Results Surgical patients with SLE had a higher prevalence of preoperative coexisting medical conditions and postoperative major complications. The OR of 30-day postoperative mortality for surgical patients with SLE was 1.71 (95% CI 1.09 to 2.67) after adjustment. Surgical patients who had received more recent (within 6 months) preoperative SLE-related inpatient care had higher risks of 30-day postoperative acute renal failure (OR=7.23, 95% CI 4.52 to 11.6), pneumonia (OR=2.60, 95% CI 1.82 to 3.72), pulmonary embolism (OR=4.86, 95% CI 1.20 to 19.7), septicaemia (OR=3.43, 95% CI 2.48 to 4.74), stroke (OR=2.01, 95% CI 1.38 to 2.92), overall complications (OR=2.30, 95% CI 1.89 to 2.80) and 30-day postoperative mortality (OR=2.39, 95% CI 1.28 to 4.45) than surgical patients without SLE. SLE-related preoperative steroid injections showed a dose-dependent relationship with postoperative complications and mortality.

Conclusions SLE significantly increased the risks of surgical patients for overall major complications and mortality after major surgery. Our findings demonstrated the need for integrated care and revised protocols for perioperative management to improve outcomes for surgical patients with SLE.