This report presents an analysis of the cumulative survival in 110 well defined patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who were followed up over a prolonged period of time. Special attention was paid to possible differences between patients who died and those who were still alive at the end of the study. Of the 110 patients with SLE, 96 (87%) were still alive after 10 years; the cumulative survival for men was 69% (11/16) and for women 90% (85/94). Patients who never developed a new exacerbation after the diagnosis for SLE had been established had a 10 year survival of 100%; for patients with one, two, or three exacerbations the 10 year survival was 91%, 69%, and 33% respectively. From these prospective studies it was found that the exacerbation frequency is most closely related to survival. Disease symptoms of renal involvement or neurological involvement, or both, present at the onset or at the moment the SLE diagnosis was established, were predominantly seen in patients who died during the follow up.
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