The following is a summary of “Health Care Utilization in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in the Community The Lupus Midwest Network,” published in January 2023 issue of Rheumatology by Chevet, et al.

For a study, researchers compared the inpatient healthcare usage between an incident cohort of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and the general population.

In the upper Midwest of the United States, population-based cohort research was conducted in the United States’ upper Midwest. Between 1995 and 2018, they included individuals who met the European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology SLE categorization criteria. They were matched 1:1 in terms of age, sex, and county to those who did not have SLE. For the period 1995–2020, all ED visits and hospital admissions were electronically obtained. Between groups, rates for hospital admission, stay length, readmission, ED visits, and discharge location were compared.

A total of 341 SLE patients and 341 comparators without the disease were included (mean age at diagnosis: 48.6 years; 79.2% female). Patients with SLE and comparators experienced hospitalization rates of 29.8 and 9.9 per 100 person-years, respectively. Both sexes and age groups showed these variances. Following diagnosis, hospitalization rates among SLE patients remained higher than those of the general population over the first 15 years of the disease. Patients with SLE were more likely to go to the ED than comparison patients (hazard ratio: 2.71; 95% CI: 2.05–3.59). Patients with SLE had increased readmission rates (32% vs. 21%, P = 0.017). Both groups had identical lengths of stay and discharge locations.

Patients with SLE were more likely to be admitted to hospitals and to use emergency departments than were people without SLE, underscoring the necessity for inpatient care. All age groups and patients of both sexes saw higher hospitalization rates.