We sought to determine the prevalence of additional connective tissue diseases (CTDs) in patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM), and to study the muscle biopsy patterns in various clinico-serologic subsets of myositis. We undertook a retrospective cohort study of 648 patients with a histological diagnosis of IIM. The following was determined from the South Australian Myositis Database: presence of associated CTDs, histological details and presence of myositis-specific (MSA) or myositis-associated (MAA) antibodies. Among patients with IIM, a significantly greater proportion had systemic sclerosis 32/648 (4.9%) than mixed connective tissue disease (12/648, p = 0.003), primary Sjogren's syndrome (12/648, p = 0.003), systemic lupus erythematosus (10/648, p < 0.001) or rheumatoid arthritis (6/648, p = 0.0001). Polymyositis was the most common IIM diagnosis regardless of the presence or absence of CTD. MSA/MAA was more commonly detected in those with systemic sclerosis than those with IIM alone (OR 5.35, p < 0.005). The higher prevalence of SSc (compared with other CTDs) in IIM, together with the more frequent detection of autoantibodies in this group, suggests that these conditions may be linked.
Keywords: Connective tissue disease; Myositis; Myositis overlap; Scleroderma; Systemic sclerosis.