On MedPageToday.com an article about an international study of 779 SLE patients with recent diagnosis (mean within 10.5 months) says that a significant percentage "already demonstrated evidence of cardiac abnormalities by EKG, including [indicators for] an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death."

About 30% were already being treated for hypertension, and about the same percentage showed some sort of technical arrhythmic abnormality in an electrocardiogram (EKG).

The report points out, among other details, that a significant percentage of SLE patients in the study had a hugely marked prolongation of the Q-T portion of their heartbeat and that this is a documented indicator "in patients with rheumatic diseases, [as being] associated with a doubling of the relative hazard for all-cause mortality."

The article at MedPage is written for doctors and has lots of technical detail. It's the kind of thing that you want to print out to take to your doctor and hope that they at least take a look at it. You might want to take a highlighter to it, just to make sure your Doc sees the key stuff.