Impact of pain in health related quality of life of patients with systemic sclerosis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Oct;45(10):1298-302. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kel189. Epub 2006 Jun 4.


Objectives: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) has an heterogenous clinical pattern, with variable organ involvement and degrees of severity. Like in other rheumatic diseases, the self-questionnaires have been used to evaluate SSc globally. The aim of the study is as to evaluate the quality of life (QoL) in patients with either diffuse or limited SSc, and to examine the impact of pain on the QoL scores.

Methods: Patients with SSc, either diffuse or limited SSc, were included in a cross-sectional study. The QoL was evaluated with the short-form 36 (SF-36) and the functional repercussion with the SSc-modified Health Assessment Questionnaire (S-HAQ).

Results: A total of 89 patients (67 with diffuse and 22 with limited SSc) were included. The SF-36 score values were lower in SSc patients than those reported in the general population. The physical component scores (PCS) of the SF-36 was significantly worse in diffuse compared with limited SSc (P < 0.05). The PCS was significantly negatively related to the number of clinical manifestations (ANOVA, P < 0.0001). The mental component score (MCS) was not influenced by the type of SSc or the number of clinical manifestations presented by the patient. The QoL of SSc patients was highly correlated with pain (R = 0.69) and disability (R = 0.70). Interestingly, the QoL of SSc patients was only slightly correlated with cutaneous (R = 0.42) and pulmonary involvement (R = 0.57).

Conclusion: The QoL of patients with SSc is strongly influenced by the type of SSc, the burden of clinical manifestations, the functional disability and by the pain, whatever its cause. The treatment of pain should be considered as priority to improve the QoL of SSc patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / psychology
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / psychology*
  • Skin Diseases / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / psychology
  • Stomach Diseases / etiology
  • Stomach Diseases / psychology