Growth impairment in patients with childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus

Samar Mahmoud, MS | February 02, 2022

Childhood-onset systemic lupus (cSLE) accounts for 10-20% of all causes of systemic lupus (SLE) and is associated with higher disease severity and more intensive treatment requirements.  A common adverse effect of cSLE treatment is growth suppression which is affected by disease duration and severity, age at disease onset, nutrition, and corticosteroid use.

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Study Design

This study enrolled 106 patients, who were diagnosed with SLE before the age of 15, between 2006 and 2016. Investigators collected the following baseline characteristics from medical records: height; weight; clinical manifestations; disease activity score; and medications. Adult voice appearance in boys, age at menarche in girls, and parental height were collected by interview. Parent-adjusted FAH scores were calculated and patients were classified into two groups: normal growth; and growth impairment. 

Results and Conclusions

Out of the 106 cSLE patients enrolled in the study, 87 (82%) were female and 19 (18%) were male. Investigators found that 52.6% of boys and 17.2% of girls had a growth impairment. Male gender, duration of disease before menarche in girls and adult voice appearance in boys, and corticosteroid dose ≥230 mg/kg received before the late phase of puberty were predictors of growth impairment. 

Related Research

Consider these findings from similar research studies:

  • Among girls with childhood-onset SLE, patients diagnosed postmenarche achieved a greater final height than those diagnosed premenarche (Source). 

  • Patients with childhood-onset SLE achieved a shorter-than-expected final  height (Source).

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