A retrospective analysis of 235 patients at the National Institutes of Health who met at least five criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) indicated that 45% were hypertensive. Approximately two thirds of these hypertensive patients had creatinine clearances of more than 60 ml/min and nonnephrotic range proteinuria. Only 16% of normotensive patients had creatinine clearances of less than 60 ml/min. A subgroup of 36 patients with SLE and with biopsy-proved diffuse renal disease were studied. For these patients, the presence of hypertension could not be correlated with the degree of proteinuria or hematuria, with the level of serum complement, or with the presence of casts, focal necrosis, crescent formation, or interstitial inflammation. Hypertensive patients had a median age of 24.5 years; the majority had creatinine clearances of more than 60 ml/min. In SLE, hypertension is not necessarily associated with advanced renal disease, and high blood pressure may occur relatively early in the course of the disease.
(Arch Intern Med 136:1003-1007, 1976)