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The Myocarditis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Association with Myositis

DAVID G. BORENSTEIN, M.D.; W. BRUCE FYE, M.D.; FRANK C. ARNETT, M.D., F.A.C.P.; and MARY BETTY STEVENS, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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Grant support: OPD/CRC U.S. Public Health Service Grant 5M01 RR00722, Arthritis Center Grant, NIAMDD 1 PGO AM 20558-01, Clinical Study Center Grant, The Arthritis Foundation, The O'Neill Laboratories, and The Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Borenstein is a postdoctoral fellow of the Maryland Chapter of The Arthritis Foundation.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Mary Betty Stevens, M.D.; The Good Samaritan Hospital; 5601 Loch Raven Boulevard; Baltimore, MD 21239.


Baltimore, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(5_Part_1):619-624. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-89-5-619
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Five patients with clinically overt myocarditis in the setting of systemic lupus erythematosus were analyzed in terms of associated clinical and serologic features. Myositis and antibodies to nuclear ribonucleoprotein (RNP) were present in all. A retrospective review in 140 consecutive patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, including three of these five, showed a highly significant association of myocarditis with myositis (P < 0.0005). The presence of antibodies to RNP in this small group did not attain statistical significance (P < 0.10). The pathologic findings in the one patient who died showed similar patterns of inflammation in both cardiac and skeletal muscle, suggesting the possibility of a generalized inflammatory process directed against striated muscle. Furthermore, although anti-RNP antibodies were found uniformly in these patients, their significance remains to be defined.

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