Hospitalization in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus at Tawam Hospital, United Arab Emirates (UAE): Rates, causes, and factors associated with length of stay

Reem Aldarmaki, Hiba I. Al Khogali, Ali M. Al Dhanhani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a relapsing and remitting multiorgan disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The survival rate of patients with SLE has recently improved, which was associated with increased morbidity and hospitalization rates. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the rate and causes of hospitalization in patients with SLE and explore factors associated with increased length of stay (LOS). Methods: Patients who visited rheumatology clinics (Tawam hospital, United Arab Emirates (UAE)) and fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) SLE criteria were identified. Retrospective charts were reviewed to determine previous admissions. Demographic data, reason for hospitalization, duration of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, number of specialist consultations, medications used, and SLE characteristics at time of admission were collected. The hospitalization rate was calculated as the number of hospitalized patients divided by the total number of patients with the disease. We performed multivariable regression analysis for factors associated with increased LOS. Results: A total of 91 patients with SLE (88 women and 3 men) met the inclusion criteria with a mean disease duration of 10.2 years (SD 5.5). A total of 222 admissions were identified, and 66 of 91 patients were admitted at least once. The mean crude hospitalization rate calculated was 29.8%. The primary reason for admission was pregnancy (29%), SLE activity (24%), and infection (20%). When combining primary and secondary reasons, the proportion of admissions due to SLE activity increased to 32%. The mean LOS was 5.9 (SD 6.0) days. About 7% of admitted patients required ICU admission. In multivariable analysis, patients with lupus nephritis, complications during hospitalization, and increased number of specialists consultations and who were admitted to ICU and started new medication were all associated with increased LOS. Conclusion: A significant proportion of patients with SLE were hospitalized during their disease course. The hospitalization rate in this study appears to be higher than those reported elsewhere. Disease flare is the leading cause of admission in patients with SLE in this relatively young cohort. Lupus nephritis has been found to be significantly related to longer LOS. Measurements taken to reduce the incidence and severity of flares would likely decrease hospitalization rate and LOS in patients with SLE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-851
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Hospitalization
  • SLE
  • hospital admission
  • hospitalization rate
  • length of stay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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