Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory treatments developed in recent years as a result of a better understanding of the pathophysiology of systemic rheumatic diseases (SRDs) improve the prognosis. Despite medical advances, individuals with SRDs at any stage may require intensive care and have a high mortality rate. The aim of this study was to investigate the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with rheumatic diseases admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and the factors associated with the risk of mortality. Materials and methods: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study that included patients with rheumatic diseases in the medical ICU. Factors of ICU 28-day mortality were identified by multiple-variable logistic analysis. Results: A total of 127 patients with SRDs admitted to the medical ICU were enrolled. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (32.3%) was the most common diagnosis of SRDs in patients admitted to the ICU. The reasons for admission to the ICU were combined infection and primary SRD flare-up (35.4%), primary SRD flare-up (22%), SRD-unrelated reasons (22%), infection (17.3%), drug side effects (3.9%), and SRD-related complications (0.8%). The most common organ dysfunctions before (49.6%) and during (77.2%) admission to ICU were in the respiratory system. The 28-day mortality was 78 (61.4%). While the maximum procalcitonin, serum lactate, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels were higher in the nonsurvivor group, the platelet and serum albumin levels were statistically significantly lower than those in the survivor group (p < 0.05). Acute respiratory failure (ARF), the presence of septic shock, the need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), BUN level, and low platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) were significant in the final multiple-variable model. Conclusion: Significant predictors of mortality in patients with rheumatic diseases may include ARF, septic shock, the need for IMV, and high BUN and low PLR levels.


Flare-up, infection, intensive care unit, mortality, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic rheumatic disease, platelet to lymphocyte ratio

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