Objective: To determine the health status of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to identify the associations of this domain.
Methods: One hundred ninety-five consecutively attending patients with SLE were studied at 2 centers. Health status was measured by 8 composite scales of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36). The mean scores for each subscale of the SF-36 for patients with SLE were compared to those of a healthy population. The effect of patients' age, sex, ethnic origin, marital status, education level, disease duration, disease activity (assessed by the Systemic Lupus Activity Measure), end organ damage (assessed by the Systemic Lupus International Coordinating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index), social support (using the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List), and patients' satisfaction with medical care (using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire) on each SF-36 subscale was determined. Student's unpaired t test and multiple regression analysis were applied for statistical analysis.
Results: Patients with SLE had significantly lower scores in each subscale of the SF-36 compared to a control population. Higher disease activity was associated with worse physical function, role-physical, bodily pain, general health, vitality, and social function. Greater social support was associated with higher scores in physical function, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social function, role-emotional, and mental health. Increasing total end organ damage determined worse physical function and general health. Higher patient general satisfaction with care was associated with better general health.
Conclusion: The health status of patients with SLE may be improved by increasing patients' social support and satisfaction with health care, as well as controlling SLE disease activity and preventing organ damage.