Quality of life is favorable for most patients with multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study

Arch Neurol. 2004 May;61(5):679-86. doi: 10.1001/archneur.61.5.679.


Background: Quality of life (QOL) is becoming an increasingly important factor in measurement of disease impact as well as an outcome measure in clinical trials.

Objectives: To study the QOL of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a population-based prevalence cohort and compare it with the general US population.

Design: Population-based prevalence cohort.

Setting: Olmsted County, Minn, population.

Participants: All patients with definite MS (N = 201) alive and residing in Olmsted County on December 1, 2000.

Intervention: None.

Main outcome measures: The expanded disability status scale (EDSS) and the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Health Survey (MSQOL-54), which consisted of Short Form 36 (SF-36) with an additional 18 items pertinent to MS.

Results: The MSQOL-54 form was completed by 185 patients. Patients with MS had worse scores than the general US population with respect to physical functioning, vitality, and general health dimensions of the SF-36 QOL measure. Many QOL domains (pain, role emotional, mental health, and social functioning) were, however, similar for the 2000 MS cohort compared with the general US population. Duration of MS and EDSS score correlated significantly with physical functioning (P<.001). The QOL correlation with EDSS score was less than expected. No significant difference in the scores for the 8 QOL dimensions were found for patients with quick vs slow progression (quick progression defined as <5 years from onset to EDSS score of 3). The majority of patients with MS (77%) were mostly satisfied or delighted with their QOL.

Conclusion: Though MS can cause significant disability, most patients with MS in the Olmsted County prevalence cohort continue to report a good QOL.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires