Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Patient with Liver Cirrhosis: Case Report and Literature Review

Yangyang Hu1, *, Shaoxian Hu1
1 Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

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© 2023 Hu and Hu

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; E-mail:



There are no treatment guidelines for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) for the patients with decompensated cirrhosis, especially for those who have a history of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, gastrointestinal bleeding and gastric fundus ulceration.

Case Presentation:

A 50-year-old woman who had a six-year history of lupus was admitted to our hospital. One month prior, at the Department of Gastroenterology, she was diagnosed with decompensated liver cirrhosis with gastric fundal varicose bleeding, and HBV-related infection. During her visit to the hospital, gastroscopy showed esophageal varices and a large gastric fundus ulcer. Laboratory data indicated the rapid decrease of red blood cells, granulocytes and platelets and the persistent increase of serum globulin levels. According to the patient's medical history and existing laboratory examination, the patient experienced an exacerbation of SLE, which could be life-threatening.-While it remained uncertain whether the liver cirrhosis was caused by SLE or the HBV infection, immediate treatment was necessary. Consequently, she was treated with a low dose of methylprednisolone and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF). The treatment resulted in significant clinical improvement. Moreover, there was no indication of HBV reactivation, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver dysfunction or other drug-induced side effects.


This case indicated that irrespective of the underlying causes of liver cirrhosis, the combination of a low dose of methylprednisolone and MMF is an effective treatment method to inhibit the disease process for patients with SLE and decompensated liver cirrhosis, a large gastric fundus ulcer and HBV infection.

Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosus, Liver cirrhosis, Hepatitis B virus, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Methylprednisolone, Mycophenolate mofetil.