Objectives: To define the relative role of cognitive impairment, depression, disease activity, and disease damage in the decreased health-related quality of life (HRQoL) frequently observed in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.
Method: We studied 101 Chilean female SLE patients and applied the 12-item Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Short Form Health Survey version 2 (SF-12v2) to assess HRQoL and the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) to assess cognitive function. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models included demographic and disease-related factors and cognitive function tests of sustained attention, memory, and executive function.
Results: All measures of HRQoL were lower in the 101 female SLE patients compared to the women from the Chilean general population. HRQoL was associated with the following factors: (i) depression symptoms, which were detrimental to all components of the physical and mental HRQoL scores; (ii) executive dysfunction (spatial planning), which was associated with lower scores on role limitations due to physical health problems and emotional problems, and general health perceptions; (iii) higher activity and organ damage were deleterious to role physical, bodily pain, and physical summary scores; and (iv) higher damage also impacted physical function. Impairments in sustained attention and memory did not decrease the HRQoL.
Conclusions: Our results highlight the relevance of executive dysfunction to poor physical and mental health components of HRQoL in SLE together with depression, while disease activity and disease damage are associated with lower HRQoL physical components. The need for cognitive function evaluation and rehabilitation in SLE is indicated.