Nervous system involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) occurs in 24%-50% of all patients in the United States at some time during the course of their illness. Lupus cerebritis with associated headache, seizures, stroke, and chorea is just one of a wide array of central nervous system disorders SLE patients can develop. It also is one of the most difficult manifestations of lupus to diagnose. Advances in imaging and laboratory analysis have contributed to an earlier and more specific diagnosis of lupus cerebritis. Despite improvements in the ability to treat SLE, management of nervous system manifestations remains unsatisfactory. Controversy exists as to the best approach for treatment. Newer combination therapies based on anecdotal evidence are suggested.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: Marylyn Kajs-Wyllie, MSN RN CCRN CNS, St. David's Medical Center, 919 E. 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705. She is a neuroscience clinical nurse specialist at the Neuroscience Center at St. David's.
© 2002 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses