Objective: To examine health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in Italian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and compare it with that of healthy people, and to investigate relationships among different dimensions and subscales of a generic health status measure.
Methods: The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) was applied in a cohort of 126 consecutive SLE patients and 96 healthy controls. At the time of HRQOL testing, all patients underwent clinical and laboratory evaluation.
Results: Both physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary scores of the SF-36 were reduced in patients compared with controls. In SLE great variability in all the subscales was observed. Significant correlations between PCS and MCS and between many different subscales were observed in patients but not in controls. The PCS was higher than MCS more frequently in controls than in SLE patients (81 vs 48.4%, P<0.00001). In SLE, HRQOL tended to worsen with age.
Conclusion: Both PCS and MCS contribute to the decrease in HRQOL in SLE patients. In SLE the mutual interaction between these two dimensions seems to be more relevant than in healthy people.