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Lupus

Lupus and Operations

03/27/2000

Question:

My mother suffered from lupus for approx. 15 years with no problems. She recently underwent triple by-pass surgery which she did not recovery from although the surgery itself was a success. She was diagnosed with Vasculitis and ultimately died from sepsis. What is puzzling to me is that, shortly after her surgery, she was taken off her lupus medication. This is puzzling because it seems to me that they should have been adding to her medication to assist in strengthening her immune system instead of taking her off her medication. Do you see that as causing a problem? Why would they have taken her off her medication? Any help you can lend to help with some closure will be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

Medications that are used to treat lupus work by suppressing the immune system because lupus is believed to be due to overactivity of the immune system. These medications can therefore increase the risk and severity of infections. Hence the lupus medications may have been discontinued because your mother developed a serious infection post operatively. I would suggest that you talk to your mother`s physician since he/she would be able to tell you the reason for the discontinuation of the medications.

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Response by:

Anne-Barbara Mongey, MD
Formerly, Director, Arthritis Clinic, Univerity Hospital
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati