Treatment and prognosis

Pleural effusion responds favorably to systemic corticosteroid therapy, with an occasional large effusion being refractory. Lupus pneumonitis and alveolar hemorrhage syndrome may respond to high-dose corticosteroid therapy. Cytotoxic agents have been used in patients refractory to corticosteroid therapy, but there is little evidence to suggest improved efficacy of the latter. Sepsis and progressive renal dysfunction are the most frequent causes of mortality in patients with SLE, but acute pulmonary alveolar hemorrhage is also important. Dramatic response can be expected in some patients with lupus pneumonitis following systemic corticosteroid therapy.

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