oa Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes in South Africa - Demographics and presenting clinical features of childhood systemic lupus erythematosus
<I>Objectives:</I> To review the presentation and characteristics of children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). <br><I>Methods:</I> The records of children with sufficient American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for SLE treated by the renal units of the Johannesburg and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals, and the arthritis clinic of the Johannesburg Hospital between January 1974 and March 2000 were reviewed. The clinical presentation, age distribution and race were examined. <br><I>Results:</I> A total of 36 children met the criteria. There were 26 girls and 10 boys, with a mean age of 11.5 and 10.2 years respectively. The male-to-female ratio was 1:2.6 overall, with a ratio of 1:1.2 under 10 years and 1:4 over 10 years. There were 15 white, 2 Indian and 5 coloured patients. The 14 black patients all presented after 1986. Rashes were found to be the commonest clinical feature present at the time of diagnosis, followed by polyarthritis and renal pathology. Constitutional symptoms were common, as were generalised lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly, while neurological, pulmonary and cardiac signs and symptoms were less common. Renal disease was present in 58% of patients on presentation. <br><I>Conclusion:</I> There is a diverse array of presenting features in childhood SLE. There has been increased recognition of the disease in young black South Africans since 1986.
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