Background The frequency of stroke in SLE patients between 18–44 years is 2 times the frequency in general population of the same age and sex. Clinical atherosclerosis is detected in 6%–12% of patients with SLE. Some researchers have suggested that the development of atherosclerosis may be related to the systemic inflammation. The objetive of our study is to assess cardiovascular risk in patients with SLE by measuring carotid intima-media thickness and identifying the presence of plaques.
Material and methods Cross-sectional study on a series of 10 SLE patients without dyslipidemia. The presence of plaques and/or an intima-media thickness higher than 0.9 mm, evaluated with a high-resolution B mode ultrasound, reflect high cardiovascular risk.
Results Of the 10 patients, 8 were women. The mean age was 36 ± 1.2 years and the mean age at diagnosis of the disease 23.2 ± 7.37 years. The patient’s characteristics and analytical data are shown in table 1.
Mean intima-media thickness in the right carotid was 580.72 ± 103.83 mm and in the left 544.76 ± 202.17 mm. Of the 10 patients, 3 had plaques, 2 of them were smokers and had been treated with Rituximab after unsuccessfully treatment with several immunosuppressants.
Conclusions The 30% of our patients had plaques, even without having classical cardiovascular risk factors. The use of carotid ultrasound may predict cardiovascular events. Carotid study may be considered for assessing the existence of subclinical aterosclerosis in SLE patients and treating with statins when necessary.