Attention is drawn to the difficulties that may be encountered in the positive identification and classification of many patients suspected of suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus. Much of this is due to a lack of specific criteria, either clinical or pathologic, for the diagnosis of the disease. The problem has been made more difficult by the recognition of a number of other syndromes that bear a superficial resemblance to systemic lupus erythematosus, yet differ in clinical manifestations, natural course, prognosis and other respects.
A feature common to the group is the presence of the L.E. cell phenomenon. The related conditions differ from lupus enythematosus in that the L.E. phenomenon may only be demonstrable intermittently especially during severe exacerbations of the disease, while at the same time disturbances in the electrophoretic pattern of the serum proteins may be much more profound.
In systemic rheumatoid disease the prognosis without steroid therapy is better than in systemic lupus erythematosus, although the morbidity may be great.
The reactions which follow administration of certain chemotherapeutic agents are of considerable interest, particularly in view of the similarity to lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, and the reversibility on withdrawal of the offending agent.
The relationship of these syndromes to each other and to classical systemic lupus erythematosus has not yet been resolved, and inclusion of them under the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus at this time must be regarded as premature.
- Copyright © 1957 by the American Academy of Pediatrics