Objective: To determine the effect of limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (lcSSc) on patients' health status, and to identify the contributions to health status of different manifestations of lcSSc.
Methods: The Short Form 36 questionnaire was completed by 213 patients with lcSSc or Raynaud's syndrome and an antinuclear antibody typical of lcSSc as part of the baseline visit of the Quinapril in Scleroderma trial. Results were analyzed after correcting for age and sex using the Welsh Health Survey. Patients' results were related to their clinical characteristics.
Results: The mean physical component score (PCS) was 44.0 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 42.5, 45.5), which was lower than the population norm of 50, and the median mental component score (MCS) was 52.2 (95% CI 48.5, 54.3). Raynaud's disease visual analog scale (VAS) scores, lung function, the number of organ systems affected, and skin score were significantly correlated with PCS. The total score (TDS) of an SSc severity scale showed the highest correlation. The effect of lcSSc on PCS was worse in younger patients. Multiple regression including age demonstrated that Raynaud's disease severity could predict a reduction in PCS beyond that predicted by TDS. Raynaud's disease severity and duration of lcSSc were linked to low MCS. Arthritis reduced PCS and esophageal involvement reduced PCS and MCS.
Conclusion: Physical health status of patients with lcSSc was reduced, with 30% of the variation predicted by TDS, age, and severity of Raynaud's disease VAS. Mental health status was not reduced in this population.