Quality of life in people with epidermolysis bullosa: a systematic review

Qual Life Res. 2020 Jul;29(7):1731-1745. doi: 10.1007/s11136-020-02495-5. Epub 2020 Apr 3.


Purpose: Individuals with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) present with various clinical manifestations of different severities that affect quality of life (QoL). This systematic review synthesizes the current evidence about the QoL of individuals with EB.

Methods: We included observational studies with people of all age groups, both sexes, and any EB type. Studies with qualitative methodology, chapters of books, meeting proceedings, and abstracts were excluded.

Results: In this study, 12 articles comprising 745 individuals were included. More than half of the articles observed lower QoL in individuals with recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB) or junctional EB (JEB). Three articles indicated that EB affected QoL more in women than in men, and one article identified that children with EB suffered more than adults with the disease. Pain was frequently reported. Seven articles identified difficulty in sports, two identified a need for bathing assistance, and three identified eating difficulties. Additionally, participants reported that family relationships and friendships were affected, and they experienced feelings of anxiety and depression. Some of the instruments used evaluated QoL in general dermatologic conditions, and one was specific to EB.

Conclusion: QoL is more affected in people who have RDEB and JEB. Regarding sex and age, women and children need special care in their monitoring. It is necessary that guidelines on pain management be more disseminated and put into practice. Future studies should use standardized specific instruments to assess the QoL in EB individuals, while considering the particularities of the different age groups.

Keywords: Epidermolysis bullosa; Quality of life; Questionnaires; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life / psychology*