Dr. John Chovan
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Cardiovascular Disease, Atherosclerosis, Auto-immune
Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a challenging auto-immune disorder that incurs sporadic flares, remissions, and relapses (Robinson & Currie, 2011, p. 629). This auto-immune process is caused by the lack of tolerance to self-antigens within the adaptive immune system and can involve multiple organ systems, including the brain, heart and kidneys (Chen, Wu, Wang, Li, 2015, p. 1). SLE, also referred to as lupus, is a disease that affects women more often than men, especially during their childbearing years (Robinson & Currie, 2011, p. 631).
Over the past 3 decades, the five-year survival rate for patients suffering from Lupus have increased from 50% to 95% with decreasing deaths from infection and renal disease (Weinstein et al., 2014, p. 130). Cardiovascular disease, however, continues to be a main cause of death for those diagnosed from SLE (Gilbert & Ryan, 2014, p. 1902). The cardiovascular system is known to be a potential target for patient with lupus, causing 7- to 10-fold increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) (Weinstein et al., 2014, p. 130). Complications of CVD include pericarditis, valvular and atherosclerotic changes. Women with SLE, however, are unaware of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with lupus (Weinstein et al., 2014, p.130).
SLE can be masked by the signs and symptoms of other superficial disease processes, while the underlying etiology is auto-immune (Weinstein, 2012, p. 38). Understanding the pathophysiology of SLE can aid in early diagnosis and treatment to provide better long-term patient outcomes and improve quality of life.
York, Jayme, "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Cardiovascular Disease" (2016). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship. Paper 162.