To study the annual incidence and standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
The annual incidence of CVA from 1999 to 2007 in a longitudinal cohort of SLE patients was calculated each year and compared with that of the regional population within the same study period. Age-specific SIRs and outcome of CVA in SLE patients were also studied.
In 2007, there were 490 SLE patients in our cohort. The mean annual incidence of CVA between 1999 and 2007 was 6.45/1000 patients and no obvious trend over time was observed. Of the 20 CVAs in patients with SLE, 18 (90%) were ischaemic stroke whereas two (10%) were haemorrhagic stroke. The mean SIR of all types of CVA in SLE patients was 2.02 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30-3.81; p = 0.002]. The SIR of ischaemic stroke decreased with age and the stroke incidence was no longer significantly higher than that of the population in patients aged >or= 60 years. Haemorrhagic stroke occurred mainly in younger SLE patients. The duration of hospitalization and the mortality rate for CVA was non-significantly higher in SLE than in non-SLE patients.
The incidence of CVA in SLE remained constant over the 8 years between 1999 and 2007. Younger SLE patients are at substantially increased risk of CVA compared to age-matched population. The duration of hospitalization and the mortality rate for CVA are similar in SLE and non-SLE patients.