UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: lupus and premature atherogenesis

Keywords: lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, atherosclerotic, coronary artery disease (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/20/2009 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 1/26/2022)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Systemic lupus erythematosus produces a significant predisposition towards premature atherosclerosis. Although the exact mechanism for what causes this is uncertain, premature CAD is at least partially (or largely) caused by systemic inflammation, which can produce endothelial damage and initiates the process of atherogenesis.

The literature indicates that there is a 9X increased risk of CAD in patients with lupus, and the risk increases to 50X higher in women 35-44 years of age! In general, patients with lupus develop their first MI 20 years earlier than age-matched non-lupus counterparts. 

[Mattu A, Petrini J, Swencki S, et al. Premature atherosclerosis and acute coronary syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus. Am J Emerg Med 2005;23:696-703.]