Long-term follow-up of 62 patients with myositis

J Neurol. 2014 May;261(5):992-8. doi: 10.1007/s00415-014-7313-z.


The aim of this work is to evaluate disease-related mortality and the course of the disease including functional outcome and quality of life. We did a follow-up study on a large prospective cohort of 62 patients with subacute-onset idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (IIM) (dermatomyositis (n = 24), nonspecific myositis (n = 34), necrotizing autoimmune myopathy (n = 4)) after treatment with corticosteroids only (randomized controlled trial comparing daily high-dosage prednisone with pulse therapy of dexamethasone). Development of connective tissue disease (CTD) or malignancy, disease course and mortality, functional outcome and quality of life were evaluated. After a mean follow-up of 3 years (SD 1.5), 22 % had developed a CTD and 17 % a malignancy. Disease-related mortality was 15 %. A monophasic disease course was found in 27 %. Most patients had a chronic (35 %) or polyphasic disease (35 %) course and experienced single or multiple relapses. Sixteen patients (33 %) were off medication after a mean of 1 year of treatment. Disability scores improved particularly in the first 18 months. At follow-up, 68 % still perceived disabilities. Quality of life scores as measured by the short-form (SF)-36 improved in the first 18 months. After 18 months, scores remained stable during the next years of follow-up and remained low compared to a normal population. (1) Two-thirds of the patients with an IIM have a polyphasic or chronic disease course and need maintenance treatment. (2) The impact on functional outcome and quality of life is considerable and does not improve further after 18 months.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myositis / diagnosis*
  • Myositis / epidemiology*
  • Myositis / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors