Central nervous system involvement is a common but rarely reviewed feature of pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 91 patients with pediatric SLE and using a standardized data abstraction form documented 40 patients with central nervous system (CNS-SLE) involvement. The mean age of onset of SLE was 13.3 years. In 19 patients the CNS manifestation was a presenting symptom, in 12 patients CNS involvement was present within the first year of diagnosis, and in 9 patients it took up to 7 years for CNS disease to become evident. Nineteen children (48%) manifested neuropsychiatric SLE, which included depression, concentration or memory problems, and frank psychosis. Seizures were present in 8 patients (20%), 6 had cerebral ischemic events (15%), 1 had chorea (3%), 2 had papilledema (5%), and 2 patients had a peripheral neuropathy (5%). Nine patients (22%) had severe headache consistent with lupus headache. Seven children had more than one CNS manifestation. In the investigation of CNS-SLE, computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging scans were helpful in patients with focal ischemic lesions and venous sinus thrombosis. Electroencephalography was abnormal only in 33% of patients with seizure disorders and rarely helpful in patients with diffuse neuropsychiatric symptoms. Single-photon emission computed tomography scans were abnormal in most patients with neuropsychiatric SLE, especially in those with frank psychosis. The lupus anticoagulant was present in the patient with chorea and was frequently present in patients with cerebral vascular events. Long-term outcome was good: only 1 child died of cerebral hemorrhagic infarction and 3 others had significant persistent CNS deficits. The majority of patients (90%) had excellent recovery from CNS-SLE.