Lupus organ damage: What is damaged in Asian patients?

February 23, 2011



Assessment of organ damage has become the standard outcome measure for morbidity and mortality in patients with lupus. Ethnicity is thought to be a marker for genetic, environmental, behavioral, and other variables that may affect disease outcomes.

Previous studies suggest that Asians residing in western countries had significantly higher prevalence of damage compared with Whites. In contrast, studies performed in Chinese, Korean and Arab patients showed that the overall prevalence of damage and the most commonly involved organs (neuropsychiatric and musculoskeletal) were similar to Whites. Compared with their Asian counterparts, Pakistani and Jewish patients appeared to have a higher prevalence of damage, most likely secondary to longer disease duration. Chinese patients had an increased prevalence of premature gonadal failure, whereas patients residing in western and southern Asia had more skin damage.

When compared with Whites, Asian patients had more renal damage but less ocular and cardiovascular damage. Risk factors associated with organ damage in Asian lupus patients included older age, higher disease activity, and the use of cyclophosphamide and steroids. Further investigations into other determinants such as genetic predisposition, socioeconomic factors, prevalence and severity of disease manifestations, and treatment, is needed in order to understand the variation in damage accrual in lupus patients from different ethnicities.


Dr. Kuan Woon Pang
Consultant Physician & Rheumatologist
Columbia Asia Hospital- Bukit Rimau