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Cross-sectional study of hair loss patterns in 122 Korean systemic lupus erythematosus patients: A frequent finding of non-scarring patch alopecia

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Although non-scarring diffuse hair loss has been frequently observed in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, the pattern of hair loss with regard to its frequency in SLE has been rarely studied. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the hair loss patterns in SLE during the course of disease. We evaluated 122 SLE patients (age range, 13–71 years; mean age, 32.7 ± 10.6; female : male ratio, 12.6:1), by conducting interviews about hair loss patterns before and after a diagnosis of SLE using a questionnaire format. History taking and physical examinations were done at the time of interview, and photographs were taken to discriminate the active LE-specific scarring hair loss from the LE-nonspecific diffuse hair loss. Frequency and correlation analysis were performed on the data from the interviews and photographs for determining their relation with the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). We found that 104 patients experienced at least one hair loss event before or during the course of SLE. Eighteen patients experienced patch alopecia, including eight who experienced this malady both before and after the diagnosis; thus, the overall prevalence of patch alopecia was 14.8% (18/122). Eighty-six patients experienced hair loss after diagnosis, of which non-scarring diffuse hair loss was the most common pattern (65.1%, 56/86) followed by non-scarring patch alopecia (15.1%, 13/86). The interview survey failed to identify a statistically significant relationship between the hair loss pattern and the SLEDAI. Our results suggest that non-scarring patch alopecia is also an important pattern in SLE that should be included in the differential diagnosis of alopecia areata and confirmed by histopathological examination.
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Keywords: frequency analysis; hair loss patterns; systemic lupus erythematosus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dermatology, 2: Rheumatology and 3: Statistics, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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