Children with Lupus Exhibit More Frequent and Severe Cardiac and Vascular Manifestations
A study of a South African group of children with lupus revealed high prevalence of cardiac and vascular involvement in 47% of the cohort. Additionally, the children (age 19 and under) exhibited severe and frequent cardiac (31%) and vascular (29%) manifestations. The most common cardiac manifestations were pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) and heart failure (difficulty pumping blood), and the most common vascular findings were cerebral vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessel wall in the brain or spinal cord) and pulmonary embolism (a blocked artery in the lungs). Cardiac and vascular manifestations were severe in this pediatric lupus population and led to an increased risk of mortality (31%).
The charts of 93 children in the Pediatric Update on Lupus in South Africa (PULSE) cohort were reviewed for cardiac and vascular incidence. Cardiac and vascular manifestations were reported separately.
The study is authored by Laura B. Lewandowski, who received a Lupus Foundation of America 2014 Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award. This study is a continuation of the research for which she received the award. She notes, “Support from the Lupus Foundation of America allowed us to build toward a solid foundation for lupus research infrastructure with international collaborators. The registry of South African pediatric lupus patients continues to grow and is a rich source of information about early onset lupus patients in Africa.”
This research, supported in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, underscores known understanding of cardiovascular involvement and aggression of the disease in South African children. More study is needed to improve knowledge, treatment and outcomes of children with the lupus. Learn more about childhood lupus.