Survival rates for lupus patients improved from 1970-2011 

WASHINGTON — Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus improved their 10-year survival rates during a 41-year period despite demographic changes, according to data presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

Researchers in Boston studied 1,099 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who were part of a lupus registry. Age at SLE diagnosis, history of lupus nephritis, serologies, hematology and renal laboratories, medication use and date of death were gathered from medical records. Patients were followed for 10 years, until death or until April 30, 2011 when follow-up ended. To estimate the risk for death over time and to investigate potential mortality predictors, researchers used Kaplan-Meier survival curves with log rank tests and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for age at diagnosis, race, sex, nephritis and hydroxychloroquine use.