Infection occurs frequently in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and has been a major cause of morbidity and mortality. However, no large-scale comprehensive studies have estimated the effect of clinical characteristics on serious infection in actual clinical practice yet. We investigated the influence of clinical characteristics on serious infections using electronic medical records data. We conducted a nested case-control study. Patients with SLE who developed serious infection which needs hospitalization or intravenous antibiotics (n = 120) were matched to controls (n = 240) who didn't. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for infection associated with clinical features were obtained by conditional logistic regression analyses. The conditional logistic regression analysis with adjustment showed that serositis (OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.33-5.74), hematologic involvement (OR, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.32-4.87), and use of higher than the low dose of glucocorticoids (GCs; >7.5 mg/d prednisolone-equivalent) (OR, 2.65; 95% CI, 1.31-5.34) were related to serious infections in SLE. Serositis, hematologic involvement, and use of higher than the low dose of GCs were associated with serious infections in patients with SLE.
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