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Neuropsychiatric lupus in children


Neuropsychiatric manifestations (NPSLE) are common in children with lupus, and are reported to be associated with worse prognosis.


To describe the clinical characteristics of children with NPSLE, including co-morbidities, damage, and mortality.


Retrospective chart review of the clinical, laboratory, and radiographic features of SLE patients diagnosed before the age of 18 and followed at MSCHONY/CUMC in 2007-2009. Disease activity (SLEDAI) at diagnosis, occurrence of major infections, and Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Damage Index (SLICC) were evaluated.

NPSLE was defined according to American College of Rheumatology criteria.

SPSS 17.0 was used for statistical analysis.


There were 120 children with SLE followed during the study period: 93 female (77.5%, M:F 3.4:1); 61 Hispanic (50.8%) and 34 African-American (28.3%).

NPSLE affected 15 children (12.5%). Cognitive dysfunction was the most common manifestation, followed by significant headache, seizures, psychosis, and focal neurologic signs. NPSLE was diagnosed in the first year in 10/15 patients (67%). Abnormalities of brain magnetic resonance imaging were encountered in 10 patients (67%).

Children with NPSLE had a significantly greater number of co-morbidities (end-stage renal disease, thrombocytopenia, and pancreatitis) than unaffected children with SLE (p<0.05). NPSLE was associated with a higher SLEDAI at diagnosis and the presence of anti-Smith antibodies (p<0.05).

All patients received high-dose corticosteroid and cyclophosphamide. NPSLE was associated with the occurrence of major infections, as well as a higher SLICC damage index, and mortality (p<0.05).


In this cohort NPSLE was associated with co-morbidities, major infections, and higher damage scores.

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Correspondence to P Costa Reis.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Costa Reis, P., Nativ, S., Isgro, J. et al. Neuropsychiatric lupus in children. Pediatr Rheumatol 9 (Suppl 1), P264 (2011).

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