Laboratory Testing for Diagnosis and Monitoring of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Sara Maher Fuad Abu-Ibaid


Aims: The purpose of this study was to assess laboratory test procedures recommended for diagnosis and monitoring of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). With a complex and hard-to-predict course, best laboratory practices need to be identified for lupus diagnosis and treatment.
Materials and methods: This study represents a qualitative meta-synthesis of 20 credible resources from peer-reviewed publications, particularly studies from journal articles evaluating laboratory tests for diagnosis and monitoring of lupus. The studies were reviewed and their results were analyzed and summarized based on major key findings. The reviewed studies were published between 2002 and 2018, with the majority being very recent.
Results and conclusions: The study concluded that laboratory testing for the diagnosis and monitoring of SLE should be conducted in consecutive stages to avoid subjecting the patients to unnecessary and costly tests. Since SLE is a multisystem disease that attacks many organs and body systems, monitoring should not be proceeded through one-stage testing. Additionally, SLE-specific autoantibodies lack adequate sensitivity. Moreover, unique biomarkers are currently not available, not just for diagnosing lupus but also for monitoring it; thus, defining and implementing standard approaches are imperative. Finally, mean platelet volumes of patients should be regularly checked because low mean platelet volume values indicates high SLE disease activity.


Systemic lupus erythematosus; SLE; lupus; diagnosing; monitoring; laboratory test; guidelines.

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