Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Presenting as Subacute Delirium in an 82‐Year‐Old Woman
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OBJECTIVES: To describe an older patient with delirium attributed to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to review the literature on neuropsychiatric manifestations of SLE in older people. DESIGN: Case report and literature review. MEDLINE search using terms systemic lupus erythematosus, neurologic, psychiatric, neuropsychiatric, autoantibodies (anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), antiphospholipid, anticardiolipin, anti-double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (anti-dsDNA), anti-Smith), and elderly. Additional articles obtained from hand-searched references and through experts. SETTING: Hospital (case report). PARTICIPANTS: Case report and literature cases. MEASUREMENTS: None. RESULTS: SLE is increasingly diagnosed in older adults. Onset is insidious and diagnosis is delayed because of a different clinical spectrum and immunological profile than in younger adults. Autoantibodies have an important role in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric manifestations, while vasculitis is less common. Aggressive immunosuppressive therapy is typically indicated, although recent case reports suggest that lower doses may suffice. The American College of Rheumatology 1982 revised criteria may be inadequate to diagnose neuropsychiatric lupus in older persons. CONCLUSION: Neuropsychiatric symptoms can be prominent in older people, presenting features of SLE. This case illustrates the lowest dose of corticosteroids shown to be effective in an older patient with delirium due to SLE.
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