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.