Pericarditis as initial clinical manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus in a girl
The most common diagnostic features of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) include mucocutaneous lesions, nephritis, arthritis and haematological disorder. Serositis in the form of pericarditis is an uncommon first-line clinical manifestation. We report on an 11-year-old Nigerian girl who presented recurrently with pericarditis as the initial clinical manifestation of SLE. Other diagnostic clinical features, namely malar rash and polyarthritis, evolved sequentially over time. Diagnostic laboratory features were lymphopenic leukopenia, a positive lupus erythematosus cell preparation and positive lupus anticoagulant tests. She responded well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive therapy. Unexplained pericarditis in any child should warrant immediate screening for SLE.