Impact of Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder on Quality of Life from the Patients' Perspective: An Observational Cross-Sectional Study

Neurol Ther. 2022 Sep;11(3):1101-1116. doi: 10.1007/s40120-022-00356-6. Epub 2022 May 6.


Introduction: Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is associated with a reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The purpose of this study was to describe the impact of NMOSD on HRQoL from the patients' perspective and its relationship with other disease factors.

Methods: An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted at 13 neuroimmunology clinics in Spain. Patients with NMOSD diagnosis (2015 Wingerchuk criteria) were included. The 29-item Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29) was used to assess the HRQoL. Different questionnaires were used to measure symptom severity, stigma, mood disorders, pain, fatigue, and difficulties in the workplace. Factors that impact HRQoL were identified by Spearman's correlation and multivariate linear regression analysis.

Results: Seventy-one patients were included (mean age 47.4 ± 14.9 years, 80.3% female, mean time since disease onset 9.9 ± 8.1 years). The median Expanded Disability Status Scale score was 3.0 (1.5-4.5). The mean (± SD) physical and psychological MSIS-29 sub-scores were 41.9 ± 16.8 and 20.9 ± 8.3, respectively. Fatigue and body pain were the most prevalent symptoms. Depressive symptoms were found in 44.3% (n = 31) of patients. The physical MSIS-29 dimension showed the highest correlation with symptom severity (ρ = 0.85584, p < 0.0001), whereas the highest correlations for psychological MSIS-29 dimension were pain, MSIS-29 physical dimension, and depression (ρ = 0.76487, 0.72779, 0.71380; p < 0.0001, respectively). Pain was a predictor of both dimensions of MSIS-29.

Conclusion: Fatigue, pain, and depressive symptoms are frequent problems among patients with NMOSD, impacting on their quality of life. Assessment of patient-oriented outcomes may be useful to achieve a holistic approach, allowing early specific interventions.

Keywords: Depression; Fatigue; Health-related quality of life; Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; Patient-reported outcomes.