Physical and Psychological Recovery Following Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis: A Patient Survey

J Burn Care Res. 2021 Nov 24;42(6):1227-1231. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irab109.


Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are acute, life-threatening diseases that cause sloughing of the skin and mucous membranes. Despite improved survival rates, few studies focus on long-term outcomes. We conducted a single-center review of all patients with SJS/TEN admitted from January 2008 to 2014. SJS/TEN survivors were invited to participate in the validated Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) to assess health-related quality of life using a mental health composite score and physical health component score (PCS). The sample was compared to U.S. norms using one-sample two-tailed t tests. A second questionnaire addressed potential long-term medical complications related to SJS/TEN. Of 81 treated subjects, 24 (30%) long-term survivors responded. Participants identified cutaneous sequelae most frequently (79%), followed by nail problems (70%), oral (62%), and ocular (58%) sequalae. Thirty-eight percent rated their quality of life to be "unchanged" to "much better" since their episode of SJS/TEN. The average PCS was lower than U.S. population norms (mean: 36 vs 50, P = .006), indicating persistent physical sequelae from SJS/TEN. These results suggest that SJS/TEN survivors continue to suffer from long-term complications that impair their quality of life and warrant ongoing follow-up by a multidisciplinary care team.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Burns / psychology*
  • Burns / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / psychology*
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / rehabilitation
  • Survivors / psychology*