Progression of carotid intima-media thickness in SLE


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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Cardiovascular risk factors, history of lupus nephritis and higher use of prednisolone is associated with cIMT progression in SLE, according to a study published in Lupus Science & Medicine.

SLE patients (n=77) and matched population controls (n=74) were enrolled in a seven-year surveillance study. Baseline assessments included cardiovascular risk factors, a history of diabetes, dyslipidaemia, or atherosclerotic cardiovascular events. 

Baseline carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) was comparable between patients and controls, while the absolute progression was 0.009mm/year and 0.011mm/ year, respectively.

At inclusion, cIMT progression was associated with dyslipidaemia, lower high density lipoproteins (HDL) and carotid plaques, in patients and controls, and in patients, with higher systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol:HDL and LDL:HDL ratios and triglycerides. Numerically, patients experienced more CV events than controls (9.1% versus 2.7%; P=.17).

At follow-up, cIMT progression was significantly associated with hypertension and blood lipids in patients and HDL in controls. The cumulative number of CV events was higher in patients (15.6% versus 5.4%; P=.042).

Progression of cIMT was statistically comparable between patients with mild SLE and controls. While CV risk factors, history of lupus nephritis and higher use of prednisolone was associated with cIMT progression. Associations of risk factors with cIMT progression were stronger in the presence of plaques.