Çiğdem Çetin, Melodi Gizem Can, Sinem Öztaşkın, Yasemin Yalçınkaya, Ahmet Gül, Murat İnanç, Bahar Artım Esen

Analysis of 5-year hospitalization data of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: Damage is a risk factor for frequent and longer stays

  • Rheumatology

Objective The annual hospitalization rate of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is approximately 10%, and hospitalizations are responsible for most of the healthcare expenses. Herein, we analyzed 5-year hospitalization data of SLE patients and determined factors leading to hospitalization. Methods Clinical, laboratory, and hospitalization data of SLE patients admitted to our rheumatology clinic in 2015–2020 were retrieved from our SLE database and analyzed. SLICC SLE damage index (SDI) and disease activity at admission (SLEDAI-2K) were determined. Results Among 161 hospitalized patients, 86% were females. Total rheumatologic hospitalization number was 298, and 38% of the patients were hospitalized more than once (1.85 ± 1.56). The mean hospitalization duration covering all stays for each patient was 25 ± 26.5 days. Active disease, infection, and damage-related complications were first three causes of hospitalization. Compared to patients hospitalized for active disease or damage, patients hospitalized for infection had a significantly higher number of readmissions ( p < .05) and their total hospital stay was longer ( p < .01). The frequency of patients with damage and the mean SDI score was significantly lower in the active disease group (68%, 1.93 ± 2.05) than hospitalizations for infection (90%, 2.68 ± 1.63) and damage-related causes (96%, 3.04 ± 1.65) ( p < .05). The mean SDI score and duration (r = 0.551, p < .001) and the number of hospitalizations (r = 0.393, p < .001) were positively correlated. The mean disease activity scores of patients hospitalized for active disease, infection, and damage-related reasons were 11.03 ± 6.08, 3.21 ± 2.80, and 2.96 ± 3.32, respectively ( p < .001). Renal active disease was the most common (44%), followed by hematological (34.8%), articular (21.7%), and mucocutaneous (21%) activity. Ten percent of the patients all of whom had damage were admitted to intensive care unit (ICU). Total hospitalization duration, mean SDI, antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus anticoagulant, thrombocytopenia, serositis, pulmonary hypertension, history of alveolar hemorrhage, and cardiac valve involvement were associated with ICU admission ( p < .05 for all). Conclusion Disease activity, infections, and damage are the leading causes of hospitalization in SLE patients. Damage prolongs hospital stay and increases hospitalization rate and ICU need. Tight control of disease activity with rational use of immunosuppressive treatment is important to reduce damage and hospitalizations.

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