The rate and pattern of organ damage in late onset systemic lupus erythematosus

Peter Maddison, Vernon Farewell, David Isenberg, Cynthia Aranow, Sang Cheol Bae, Susan Barr, Jill Buyon, Paul Fortin, Ellen Ginzler, Dafna Gladman, John Hanly, Susan Manzi, Ola Nived, Michelle Petri, Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman, Gunnar Sturfelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Objective. To compare the extent and type of damage in patients with late onset and earlier onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SDI). Methods. A total of 86 SLE patients with disease onset after the age of 54 years were matched for center, sex, and ethnic origin with 155 SLE patients with disease onset before the age of 40 years. SDI scores were obtained at one year and 5 years after the diagnosis of SLE. Analysis was based on conditional logistic regression. Results. SDI scores were higher in the late onset group than in younger patients at both one [mean 0.7 (range 0-3) vs 0.3 (range 0-3); p < 0.001] and 5 years [mean 1.6 (range 0-8) vs 0.9 (range 0-7); p < 0.001] after diagnosis. There was also a difference in the pattern of organ damage. While damage to the skin, kidneys, and central nervous system occurred with similar frequency, late onset disease was characterized by significantly more cardiovascular (OR 14.13, p < 0.001), ocular (OR 9.38, p= 0.001), and musculoskeletal (OR 2.68, p = 0.016) damage and malignancy (OR 7.04, p = 0.046). Conclusion. The occurrence of organ damage assessed by the SDI is greater in patients with late onset SLE than in younger patients and, by this criterion, lupus cannot be judged to be more benign in this age group. Also, the pattern of damage is different, but whether this reflects age per se or the effect of the disease in the elderly remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-917
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 20 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Late onset lupus
  • SLICC/ACR damage index
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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