Background/aim: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) frequently affects the small joints of the hand and may result in difficulty in activities of daily living. There are very few studies evaluating the problems encountered in the hands in patients with SLE. The aim of this study is to evaluate hand functions in patients with SLE and compare them with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and healthy subjects.
Materials and methods: A total 46 female patients meeting the SLE classification criteria were recruited. Similarly, 51 female RA patients and 46 healthy female subjects served as the control groups. To assess the upper extremity disability level, the Disability Arm Shoulder and Hand Questionnaire (DASH) was used. Some functional performances such as hand grip and pinch strength were evaluated using a dynamometer and the Nine Hole Peg Test (NHPT), respectively.
Results: Hand functions were found to be impaired in both SLE and RA patients when compared to healthy controls. In addition, patients with SLE showed better performance in the NHPT, hand grip, and pinch strength than RA patients (P < 0.05). However, the patient-reported disability level was similar in both patient groups (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Similar to patients with RA, hand functions are significantly impaired in patients with SLE in daily activities.
Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosu; rheumatoid arthritis; hand functions.