Last reviewed 08/2021

Early diagnosis of the disease can be achieved by clinical assessment of the patient:

  • clinical features should be differentiated as to whether they are due to:
    • lupus disease activity (i.e. a lupus flare)
    • other lupus-related pathology, e.g. thrombosis or vasospasm
    • irreversible organ damage
  • consideration should be given to co-existing disease as well e.g - infection which may be worsened by a lupus flare causing a “dual pathology”(1).

There is no diagnostic test specific for SLE and investigations should be guided by the extent of the organ involvement (1).

The American college of Rheumatology (ACR) have proposed criteria for identifying SLE, of which at least 4 must be present. Although these were initially developed to identify patients for clinical studies newer criteria (Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) classification system) are likely to be more widely used in the future (1).