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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Systemic lupus erythematosus; stroke and myocardial infarction risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

  • Author(s): Yazdany, Jinoos
  • Pooley, Nick
  • Langham, Julia
  • Nicholson, Lindsay
  • Langham, Sue
  • Embleton, Nina
  • Wang, Xia
  • Desta, Barnabas
  • Barut, Volkan
  • Hammond, Edward
  • et al.


To evaluate the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) in adult patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) through a systematic review and meta-analysis.


We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE from inception to May 2020 to identify observational studies (cohort and cross-sectional) that evaluated risk of stroke and MI in adult patients with SLE compared with the general population or healthy controls. Studies were included if they reported effect-size estimates that could be used for calculating pooled-effect estimates. Random-effects models were used to calculate pooled risk ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs for stroke and MI. Heterogeneity quantified by the I2 test and sensitivity analyses assessed bias.


In total, 26 studies were included in this meta-analysis: 14, 5 and 7 studies on stroke, MI and both stroke and MI, respectively. The pooled RR for ischaemic stroke was 2.18 (95% CI 1.78 to 2.67; I2 75%), intracerebral haemorrhage 1.84 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.90; I2 67%), subarachnoid haemorrhage 1.95 (95% CI 0.69 to 5.52; I2 94%), composite stroke 2.13 (95% CI 1.73 to 2.61; I2 88%) and MI 2.99 (95% CI 2.34 to 3.82; I2 85%). There was no evidence for publication bias, and sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the results.


Overall, patients with SLE were identified to have a twofold to threefold higher risk of stroke and MI. Future research on the interaction between known SLE-specific modifiable risk factors and risk of stroke and MI to support development of prevention and treatment strategies are needed.

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