[Recurrent avascular bone necrosis in systemic lupus]. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ischemic necrosis of the bones in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) usually appears when treatment with corticosteroids is initiated. The most frequent site is the hip, while the knee and shoulder are less frequently involved. A 21-year-old man was admitted because of bilateral shoulder pain 3 years after diagnosis of SLE. The skin, joints, brain, small intestine and kidneys were also involved and corticosteroid therapy was started. 1.5 years before his last admission, severe knee pain developed with limitation of range of movement but without effusion or soft tissue swelling. Bone scan confirmed the diagnosis of aseptic necrosis of the femur and tibia of both knees. He also developed bilateral shoulder pain accompanied by limitation of the range of internal and external rotation. X-ray of the shoulders demonstrated bilateral ischemic necrosis. Since synovitis is relatively rare in SLE treated with corticosteroids, aseptic necrosis of the bone should always be suspected when arthralgia develops in this condition.

publication date

  • January 1, 1989