How does quality of life of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus compare with that of other common chronic illnesses?

Meenakshi Jolly
Journal of Rheumatology 2005, 32 (9): 1706-8

OBJECTIVE: Comparison of health related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with other common chronic illnesses.

METHODS: Responses from self-administered Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaires from 90 patients with SLE, recorded in the lupus database at the University of Chicago Hospital, were analyzed. Comparative norms and domain scores for patients with other chronic diseases [hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF), adult onset diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, and depression] were used and are based on the general US population. T tests were used to make comparisons.

RESULTS: Patients with SLE were younger than patients with most reference chronic conditions except for depression. Their Physical Component Scores and Mental Component Scores were 30 +/- 10.5 and 45.1 +/- 11, respectively. SLE patients fared significantly worse than age matched norms from the general US population for women (p = 0.0001) in all 8 domains. Their quality of life was significantly worse than for those with hypertension, diabetes, or myocardial infarction in all domains (p < 0.004). Patients with CHF were no worse than those with SLE in regard to physical function, role-physical, role-emotional, and vitality. CHF patients fared significantly better in mental health, bodily pain, social functioning, and general health, compared to patients with SLE. Patients with depression were significantly impaired in role-emotional and mental health domains (p = 0.0001) compared to SLE patients, but were no worse (role-physical, vitality, and social functioning) and even better (physical function, bodily pain, and general health) in some. General health of SLE patients was significantly lower than all comparative groups.

CONCLUSION: HRQOL of patients with SLE seems to be significantly worse and affects all health domains at an earlier age in comparison to patients with some other common chronic diseases.

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