Pleural and pulmonary involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus

Olga Torre, Sergio Harari

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a rare complex autoimmune disease with a multisystem involvement. The clinical manifestations of this disease include an erythematous rash, oral ulcers, polyarthralgia, nonerosive arthritis, polyserositis, hematologic, renal, neurologic, pulmonary and cardiac abnormalties. The involvement of the respiratory system is frequent. Pleuro-pulmonary manifestations are present in almost half of the patients during the disease course and may be the presenting symptoms in 4-5% of patients with SLE. Complications directly associated to the disease include pleuritis with or without pleural effusion, alveolitis, interstitial lung disease, lupus pneumonitis, pulmonary hemorrhage, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and pulmonary thromboembolic disease. Complications due to secondary causes include pleuro-pulmonary manifestations of cardiac and renal failure, atelectasis due to diaphragmatic dysfunction, opportunistic pneumonia, and drug toxicity. The prevalence, clinical presentation, prognosis and response to treatment vary, depending on the pattern of involvement. As with other connective tissue diseases, early and specific therapeutic intervention may be indicated for many of these pleuro-pulmonary manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPresse medicale (Paris, France : 1983)
Issue number1 PART2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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