Neonatal Lupus

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Neonatal Lupus is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

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General Discussion

Neonatal lupus is a rare acquired autoimmune disorder that is present at birth (congenital). Affected infants often develop a characteristic red rash or skin eruption. The most significant potential complication is a heart condition known as congenital heart block. Congenital heart block does not resolve within the first several months of life and infants may ultimately require a pacemaker. Some infants develop only skin symptoms, some infants develop only heart symptoms, and, less often, some infants develop both. Less common findings include liver disease, an abnormally large head circumference (macrocephaly), and/or low numbers of circulating blood platelets that assist in blood clotting functions (thrombocytopenia), white blood cells that help fight infection (neutropenia), and red blood cells that help deliver oxygen to the body (anemia). Neonatal lupus results from specific autoantibodies that travel from a pregnant woman to her developing fetus. These autoantibodies damage specific fetal tissue through a process that is not fully understood.

Neonatal lupus is not the infant form of lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus); the name was given to this disorder because the skin rash resembles the one associated with lupus. The affected infant or child does not have systemic lupus erythematosus and often the mother does not either. Neonatal lupus is a distinct, separate disorder.

Supporting Organizations

American Autoimmune & Related Diseases

22100 Gratiot Ave.
Eastpointe, MI 48021
Tel: (586)776-3900
Fax: (586)776-3903
Tel: (800)598-4668

AutoImmunity Community


Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

Lupus Canada

3555 14th Avenue, Unit #3,
Ontario, L3R 0H5
Tel: (905) 513-0004
Fax: (905) 513-9516
Tel: (800) 661-1468

Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.

2000 L Street NW
Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)349-1155
Fax: (202)349-1156
Tel: (800)558-0121

March of Dimes

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Email: or
Website: and

NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

31 Center Dr
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892
Fax: (866)760-5947
Tel: (800)370-2943

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  10/28/2015
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.