Rheumatology clinic

Immunisation of adult patients with rheumatic diseases

Paul Healy



Infection is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in adults with rheumatic diseases. This article discusses the place of immunisation in affected individuals.

Article Extract

Dr Paul Healy discusses the value of immunisation in patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases and patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs or corticosteroids.

Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases have much greater infection-related morbidity and mortality than the general adult population. Those with rheumatoid arthritis have between two and five times the risk of their matched contemporaries. Infection kills as many people as active disease in the first five years of systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE), and it causes 30% of all deaths in patients with SLE or vasculitis. In general, the infections tend to be the common, rather than opportunistic, pathogens.