Korean J Intern Med.  2020 May;35(3):652-661. 10.3904/kjim.2018.303.

Trend of prevalence and incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus in South Korea, 2005 to 2015: a nationwide population-based study

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Korea
  • 3Department of Medical Statistics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea


The aim of this study was to evaluate the trend of incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in South Korea from 2005 to 2015.
From 2005 to 2015, individuals with SLE were identified from the National Health Insurance database, which records information on almost all Koreans. SLE was defined according to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10), code M32. The incidence was calculated per 100,000 person-years. The prevalence was calculated per 100,000 people and stratified by year, age group, sex, region, and income.
The annual prevalence of SLE increased slightly from 21.25/100,000 people in 2005 to 35.45/100,000 people in 2015. In contrast, the annual incidence of SLE decreased slightly from 5.42/100,000 person-years in 2005 to 3.6/100,000 person-years in 2015. The prevalence and incidence of SLE were 10- and 6-fold higher in women than in men, respectively. The peak age of prevalence and incidence was 30 to 39 years in 2005; in 2015, the peak age of prevalence was 30 to 49 years and of incidence was 20 to 49 years. Regional variation was observed in both incidence and prevalence of SLE. Jeju province showed the highest prevalence of SLE (44.54/100,000 person-years), and Gwangju province showed the highest incidence of SLE (6.98/100,000 person-years) in 2015. The income status did not affect the prevalence or incidence of SLE except in patients without income who received medical aid.
The incidence of SLE has declined, but the prevalence has increased in Korea in recent years. Peak age of SLE trend to right shift in Korea.


Lupus erythematosus, systemic; Prevalence; Incidence; Database; Korea
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