Aetiology and outcome of anemia in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus


  • Archana Sonawale Department of Medicine, Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Suresh Pasiddhi Department of Medicine, Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Nilakshi H. Sabnis Department of Medicine, Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India



Anemia, Systemic lupus erythematosus, SLEDAI scores, SLICC/ACR damage index, Serum complement levels


Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem autoimmune disorder that is greatly subject to the combined effect of genetic, environmental, demographic and geographical factors. Hematological manifestations are very common in SLE, with many patients presenting with anemia. The cause of Anemia could be varied, with Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, anemia of chronic disease, iron deficiency being the common causes. The aim of the present study was to estimate the proportion of patients with prevalence of different causes of anemia in SLE and it‘s association between immunological and clinical parameters and to correlate the severity of anemia with SLEDAI score and SLICC/ACR score.

Methods: This was an observational and prospective study conducted on 52 patients satisfying ACR criteria for SLE and WHO definition of anemia. All patients underwent baseline investigations for hematological, biochemical parameters and immunological investigations for C3 and C4. Other special investigations were done as per the treating rheumatologists’ opinion. Patients were followed up after three months to evaluate the response to therapy.

Results: In this study, most of the patients were in the age group between 20-50 years (94.22%) and female:male ratio was 13:1. At presentation 55.76% patients had severe anemia, 38.46% had moderate anemia and 5.78% had mild anemia. After therapy (three months) only 3.84% patients had severe anemia. The most common cause of anemia was AIHA (38.46%).  Mean SLEDAI score at presentation was >20 but after three months therapy the score was reduced to 4. There was no correlation between aneamia and SLICC/ACR damage index.

Conclusions: Anaemia usually occurs at the onset of SLE and its recurrence rate will become low after three months of therapy. SLEDAI scores, SLICC/ACR damage index and serum complement levels (C3 and C4) acts as good indices for assessment and follow up of SLE.


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