Objective: To develop a self-assessment questionnaire and estimate its validity in the evaluation of disease status in patients with systemic sclerosis.
Patients and methods: The developed questionnaire (SAQ) consists of 23 questions divided into four groups related to symptoms of vascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal dysfunction. One hundred and five patients with systemic sclerosis filled in the SAQ. Answers were assessed on a 0-3 scale and Index of Vascular Status (IVS), Index of Respiratory Status (IRS), Index of Gastrointestinal Status (IGS), Index of Musculoskeletal Status (IMMS) and Index of Disease Status (IDS) were calculated. Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to examine the correlation of index score for particular organ system with various disease damage indicators.
Results: Mean score for IVS was significantly higher in patients with finger-tip ulcers or finger-tip osteolysis than in patients without, and was also higher in patients who had more severe capillary damage. Mean score for IRS was significantly higher in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, also in patients with reduced FVC, DLCO and DLCO/VA. Patients with esophageal hypomotility had a higher mean score for IGS than patients with normal esophageal motility. The mean score for IMSS showed a strong correlation with the skin score and was significantly higher in patients with reduced hand motility, joint contractures, muscle weakness or arthralgia/arthritis. The mean score for IDS was significantly higher in patients who had multisystemic involvement.
Conclusions: The Scleroderma Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) is a sensitive measurement of disease status and level of impairment of different organ systems in patients with systemic sclerosis.