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INTRODUCTION and OBJECTIVE. Systemic lupus erythematosus is a syndrome of variable clinical and immunological expression, which may affect any organ. Stroke is an uncommon complication of systemic lupus erythematosus, attributed to many different etiopathogenic mechanisms such as early atherosclerosis, coagulopathy, vasculitis, cardiogenic embolism, etc. Our objectives were to analyze the incidence, clinical and immunological characteristics of this condition and to evaluate the therapeutic approach and evolution. CLINICAL CASES. We present the cases of six patients with cerebral infarcts who also had systemic lupus erythematosus. The frequency of cerebral infarct in our series of systemic lupus erythematosus was 6%. The average age was 45 years (range 13-67). All the cerebral infarcts occurred whilst the systemic lupus erythematosus was active. There were positive antiphospholipid antibodies in three of the patients and two patients had potentially embologenic cardiopathy (33%). Fifty percent of the patients required treatment with cyclophosphamide for their severe systemic disease and 66% received anticoagulants for an antiphospholipid syndrome and/or suspected thromboembolism. The clinical course was satisfactory in all cases but the one who died.
CONCLUSIONS. The incidence of cerebral infarct in relation to systemic lupus erythematosus is low, and generally appears during advanced, active phases of the disease. The many etiopathogenic mechanisms involved generally act together so that it is difficult to say which is the main cause, especially in elderly patients. Amongst these mechanisms is the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, detection of which is essential in this condition, and cardiogenic embolism. The evolution depends mainly on the multi-organ involvement and how early immunosuppressive and/or anticoagulant treatment is started
AntiphospholipidsCerebral infarctSystemic lupus erythematosusPatología vascular