Objective: Takayasu's arteritis (TA) is a chronic immune vasculitis that causes inflammation of the aorta and its branches and is clinically characterized by exacerbations and remissions. This study examined the quality of life (QoL) of patients with TA using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey, a validated health related QoL questionnaire.
Methods: Questionnaires that included the SF-36 and demographic related variables were mailed to 392 patients enrolled in the Takayasu's Arteritis Research Association. Raw SF-36 scores, as well as Physical Health Summary (PHS) and Mental Health Summary (MHS) scores, were calculated according to standard protocols. Data were analyzed for predictors of superior QoL using univariate and stepwise logistic regression analysis. SF-36 scores were also compared with those of other chronic diseases associated with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) published in the literature. Results are reported as mean +/- standard error of the mean.
Results: A total of 158 patients (144 women, 14 men) with average age of 42.2 +/- 1.1 years responded to the questionnaire. Mean onset of symptoms occurred at 30.5 +/- 1.2 years, with a mean age at diagnosis of 34.7 +/- 1.2, and a median of four doctors were seen before diagnosis. The group underwent 299 TA-related surgical procedures (1.9 +/- 0.3), including coronary (38%), carotid (35%), upper extremity (30%), and lower extremity (26%) revascularization. PHS and MHS summary scores (39.2 +/- 1.0 and 44.5 +/- 1.0, respectively) were worse than mean scores for an age-matched healthy population as well as nationally reported scores for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and coronary artery disease (all P < .0001). Multivariate predictors of better physical QoL were younger age (P = .003) and remission of the disease (P = .0002). The use of immunomodulating medications was associated with inferior physical QoL (P = .02). The sole predictor of better mental QoL was remission of disease (P = .002).
Conclusion: TA is a rare disease with profound consequences on QoL. Scores for physical and mental health are worse compared with many other chronic diseases associated with PVD. Superior physical QoL is seen in younger patients, whereas inferior physical QoL is encountered in those who take immunomodulating medications. Because the only factor to influence positively both physical and mental QoL is disease remission, every effort should be directed to attenuate disease activity.