Rheumatology International

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 2623–2627 | Cite as

Initial presentation of acute transverse myelitis in systemic lupus erythematosus: demographics, diagnosis, management and comparison to idiopathic cases

  • Steffan W. Schulz
  • Max Shenin
  • Amy Mehta
  • Amal Kebede
  • Marshall Fluerant
  • Chris T. Derk
Original Article


To describe and compare the diagnosis, demographics and management of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) related versus idiopathic acute transverse myelitis during the initial presentation of the disease. We undertook a chart review of the hospital records of patients admitted to our hospital from 1994 until 2007 and had the diagnosis of SLE related and idiopathic acute transverse myelitis. Demographics, laboratory and imaging studies, diagnosis and treatment were recorded in both groups and analyzed in a case control fashion. We identified 15 patients with SLE-related acute transverse myelitis (SLE-ATM) and 39 idiopathic (I-ATM) cases between 1994 and 2007. Patients with SLE were more likely to be African American, have CNS demyelinating lesions on MRI, a high IgG% on their CSF analysis and a higher sedimentation rate on presentation. Treatment with high-dose steroids was instituted in both groups of patients, though SLE patients had a longer hospital stay by an average of 5 days. SLE-ATM patients were more likely to be African American as compared to I-ATM patients, have CNS demyelinating lesions on MRI, a high IgG% on CSF analysis and a higher sedimentation rate on presentation. The hospital stay for SLE patients was 5 days longer than the idiopathic patients. This study underlines the importance of early diagnosis of patients who develop ATM related to SLE.


Transverse myelitis Myelitis Autoimmunity Systemic lupus Sjogren’s syndrome Sarcoidosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffan W. Schulz
    • 1
  • Max Shenin
    • 1
  • Amy Mehta
    • 1
  • Amal Kebede
    • 1
  • Marshall Fluerant
    • 1
  • Chris T. Derk
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of RheumatologyThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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