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Juvenile-onset multifocal osteonecrosis in systemic lupus erythematosus: A case report.

  • Jin, Wenyuan1
  • Yang, Xinghui2
  • Lu, Meiping3
  • 1 Department of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics.
  • 2 Department of Radiology.
  • 3 Department of Rheumatology Immunology and Allergy, Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, National Clinical Research Center for Child Health, No. 57, Zhugan Lane, Hangzhou 310003, China. , (China)
Published Article
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Jan 15, 2021
DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000024031
PMID: 33466148


Osteonecrosis (ON) is a devastating illness that leads to bone ischemia and potential joint destruction. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, autoimmune disease, with multi-system involvement which is closely associated with occurrence of ON. Multifocal ON, with an estimated morbidity of 3% in SLE patients, is extremely rare in juvenile subjects. A 13.3-year-old female SLE patient was admitted to hospital 20 months following the SLE diagnosis because of a sudden aggravation of sore knees. She suffered from double knee joint pain and her left knee joint showed typical signs of inflammation including redness, swelling, heat, and pain. The SLE patient was diagnosed with multifocal ON of her knee joint based on magnetic resonance imaging findings of bone destruction and osteoproliferation at the bilateral distal femur and proximal tibia. The patient received high-dose methylprednisolone and intravenous cyclophosphamide pulse therapies for controlling active lupus and nephritis. Oral calcitriol and dipyridamole were administered to alleviate knee pain and inhibit thrombi formation, thereby suppressing ON progress. Three weeks following the treatment, the swelling in patient's left knee subsided. Her self-reporting pain score decreased from 9 to 4 and walking time increased from 45minutes to 90minutes per day. Nearly 5 weeks later, the pain in bilateral knee joints disappeared and the patient could walk without difficulties. This patient is the youngest SLE patient who developed multifocal ON based on the reported literature. It suggests that ON can occur in young SLE patients. A combination of internal and external risk factors can promote the development of ON. The balanced approach to the application of corticosteroids and immunosuppressors in the treatment of SLE and prevention of ON is a challenging problem that deserves further exploration. Copyright © 2021 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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