Bacteria in the Blood Associated with Lupus Flares
Bacteria in the Blood Associated with Lupus Flares

August 12, 2019

Bacteremia, bacteria in the bloodstream, is associated with severe lupus flares and corticosteroid use, according to a new study published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

Conducted in Spain, the study looked at all cases of bacteremia included in a national registry of hospitalized patients.  It contains data from 3,679 lupus patients at 45 Spanish hospitals.

Gram-negative bacilli, most often E. coli, caused over half of the episodes of bacteremia.  Of those who had bacteremia, 41% had a flare and 64% had a comorbidity, meaning they had two conditions at the same time.  Also among those lupus patients with bacteremia, 88.6% received steroid hormones called corticosteroids and 57% were treated with immunosuppressants that reduce the strength of the body’s immune system. Corticosteroids increased the risk for bacteremia.

In 27.2% of patients, bacteremia occurred more than once. Deaths occurred in 14% of those lupus patients who had bacteremia.

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