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Extended report
Definition and initial validation of a Lupus Low Disease Activity State (LLDAS)

Abstract

Aims Treating to low disease activity is routine in rheumatoid arthritis, but no comparable goal has been defined for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We sought to define and validate a Lupus Low Disease Activity State (LLDAS).

Methods A consensus definition of LLDAS was generated using Delphi and nominal group techniques. Criterion validity was determined by measuring the ability of LLDAS attainment, in a single-centre SLE cohort, to predict non-accrual of irreversible organ damage, measured using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Damage Index (SDI).

Results Consensus methodology led to the following definition of LLDAS: (1) SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI)-2K ≤4, with no activity in major organ systems (renal, central nervous system (CNS), cardiopulmonary, vasculitis, fever) and no haemolytic anaemia or gastrointestinal activity; (2) no new lupus disease activity compared with the previous assessment; (3) a Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment (SELENA)-SLEDAI physician global assessment (scale 0–3) ≤1; (4) a current prednisolone (or equivalent) dose ≤7.5 mg daily; and (5) well tolerated standard maintenance doses of immunosuppressive drugs and approved biological agents. Achievement of LLDAS was determined in 191 patients followed for a mean of 3.9 years. Patients who spent greater than 50% of their observed time in LLDAS had significantly reduced organ damage accrual compared with patients who spent less than 50% of their time in LLDAS (p=0.0007) and were significantly less likely to have an increase in SDI of ≥1 (relative risk 0.47, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.79, p=0.005).

Conclusions A definition of LLDAS has been generated, and preliminary validation demonstrates its attainment to be associated with improved outcomes in SLE.

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Disease Activity
  • Outcomes research
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