BACKGROUND: Lupus patients are at risk for pregnancy loss, and it has been generally accepted that women with SLE should have low disease activity prior to conception. However, there are conflicting results regarding the effect of pregnancy on SLE flares. This study aims to identify predictors of flares during and after pregnancy in SLE patients with inactive or stable disease activity during the first trimester and to characterize and estimate the frequency of post-partum flares in these patients. METHODS: SLE patients in the multicenter, prospective PROMISSE (Predictors of Pregnancy Outcome: Biomarkers in Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) study were evaluated for flares during and after pregnancy using the SELENA-SLEDAI Flare Index. Flares during pregnancy were assessed in all 384 patients and post-partum flares in 234 patients with study visits 2-6 months post-partum. Logistic regression models were fit to the data to identify independent risk factors for flare. RESULTS: During pregnancy, 20.8% of patients had mild/moderate flares and 6.25% had severe. Post-partum, 27.7% of patients had mild/moderate flares and 1.7% had severe. The mild flares rarely required treatment. Younger age, low C4 and higher PGA at baseline were independently associated with higher risk of having at least one mild/moderate or severe flare during pregnancy. Older patients were at decreased risk of flare, as well as those with quiescent disease at baseline. No variables evaluated at baseline or the visit most proximal to delivery was significantly associated with risk of flare post-partum. Medications were not associated with flare during or after pregnancy. CONCLUSION: In patients with inactive or stable mild disease activity at the time of conception, lupus disease flares during and after pregnancy are typically mild and occur at similar rates. Flares during pregnancy are predicted by the patients' age and clinical and serological activity at baseline.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy