Objective Cardiovascular disease is an important contributor to the mortality rate of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is related to SLE disease activity. Fragmented QRS (fQRS) complexes, defined by additional spikes in the QRS complex, are useful for identifying myocardial scars on electrocardiography and can be an independent predictor of cardiac events. We aimed to assess the relationship between disease activity in patients with SLE and fQRS at the time of diagnosis. Methods Forty-four patients with SLE were included. Patients with cardiac diseases, other rheumatic diseases, and prior treatment at the time of electrocardiography measurement were excluded. The appearance of fQRS represented exposure. The primary outcome was SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K). Multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between fQRS and SLEDAI-2K adjusted for age, sex, and time from the estimated onset date to the date of diagnosis. Results Among patients with SLE at diagnosis, 26 (59.1%) had fQRS. The median SLEDAI-2K was 18 (interquartile range [IQR], 12–22) and 9 (IQR, 8–15) in the fQRS(+) and fQRS(-) groups, respectively. SLEDAI-2K was significantly higher in the fQRS(+) group than in the fQRS(-) group (regression coefficient, 2.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.76–4.61; p = 0.008). Conclusion Our results suggested that fQRS(+) patients with SLE had high disease activity. fQRS could likely detect subclinical myocardial involvement in patients with SLE and predict long-term occurrence of cardiac events.
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