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Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a rare and life-threatening manifestation of juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE). The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and clinical features of AP in our JSLE population. AP was defined according to the presence of abdominal pain or vomiting associated to an increase of pancreatic enzymes and/or pancreatic radiological abnormalities. Of note, in the last 26 years, 5367 patients were followed up at our Pediatric Rheumatology Unit and 263 (4.9%) of them had JSLE diagnosis (ACR criteria). AP was observed in 4.2% (11/263) of JSLE patients. The median of age of the JSLE patients at AP diagnosis was 12.4 years (8.8-17.9). All of them had lupus disease activity at AP onset. Three patients were receiving corticosteroids before AP diagnosis. Interestingly, 10/11 JSLE patients fulfilled preliminary guidelines for macrophage activation syndrome, three of them with macrophage hemophagocytosis in bone marrow aspirate and hyperferritinemia. The hallmark of this syndrome is excessive activation and proliferation of T lymphocytes and macrophages with massive hypersecretion of proinflammatory cytokines and clinically it is characterized by the occurrence of unexplained fever, cytopenia and hyperferritinemia. AP treatment was mainly based on intravenous methylprednisolone. Four JSLE patients with AP died and two developed diabetes mellitus. In conclusion, AP was a rare and severe manifestation in active pediatric lupus. The association between AP and macrophage activation syndrome suggests that the pancreas could be a target organ of this syndrome and that pancreatic enzyme evaluation should also be carried out in all patients.
Pediatric Rheumatology Unit, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
This article was published in the following journal.
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