Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess the differences between childhood-onset and adult-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE and aSLE) for clinical manifestations and mortality using a meta-analytic approach. Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane library were searched for eligible studies published between January 1982 and March 2021. The odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval was used to calculate the pooled effect estimates using the random-effects model. Results: Thirty-four studies involving 21,946 SLE patients were included. cSLE was associated with an increased risk of malar rash (OR: 1.64; p < 0.001), ulcers/mucocutaneous involvement (OR: 1.22; p = 0.039), general neurological involvement (OR: 1.52; p < 0.001), seizures (OR: 1.92; p < 0.001), general renal involvement (OR: 2.08; p < 0.001), proteinuria (OR: 1.35; p = 0.015), urinary cellular casts (OR: 1.67; p = 0.047), fever (OR: 2.31; p < 0.001), anemia (OR: 1.91; p < 0.001), thrombocytopenia (OR: 1.41; p < 0.001), leucopenia (OR: 1.57; p = 0.017), lymphadenopathy (OR: 2.40; p < 0.001), and cutaneous vasculitis (OR: 1.72; p = 0.001) as compared with aSLE. Moreover, cSLE versus aSLE was associated with a reduced risk of articular manifestations (OR: 0.63; p = 0.001), pulmonary involvement (OR: 0.54; p = 0.001), and pleuritis (OR: 0.61; p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between cSLE and aSLE for mortality risk (OR: 1.20; p = 0.203). Conclusion: We found that certain clinical manifestations of SLE are different in cSLE and aSLE. Moreover, the mortality risk of cSLE and aSLE was not significantly different.

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