Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus

Joanna M. Burch, Lela A. Lee and William L. Weston


Dermatology Nursing. 2002;14(3) 

In This Article


In the group of mothers who are asymptomatic, one to two-thirds will develop rheumatic disease within 5 years (McCune, Weston, & Lee, 1987; Niemann et al., 2000). A Canadian study followed mothers of babies with cutaneous NLE and those with CHB for a mean of 7 years. A much greater percentage (75%) of mothers of babies with cutaneous disease developed symptomatic rheumatic disease; 56% of mothers of infants with CHB remained asymptomatic (Lawrence, Luy, Laxer, Krafchik, & Silverman, 2000).

There have been case reports of infants with NLE going on to develop SLE as adolescents. Five of 57 patients reviewed in the NLE registry developed autoimmune syndromes within 6 years: autoimmune thyroiditis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud's disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus (Neiman et al., 2000).

About 1 in 200 women is positive for anti-Ro antibodies. The risk for mothers who are anti-Ro antibody positive to have an affected infant is about 0.5%. If the mother has a previously affected infant, the risk increases to about 20%, regardless of whether CHB or cutaneous NLE was present (Neiman et al., 2000).


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