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Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Jun 15;51(3):475-81.

Health-related quality of life in systemic sclerosis as measured by the Short Form 36: relationship with clinical and biologic markers.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Italy.



To evaluate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) using the Short Form 36 (SF-36) and to correlate SF-36 scores with clinical and biologic markers.


The SF-36 was administered to 24 controls and 24 SSc patients. SSc patients also were evaluated for subset (limited SSc [lSSc] and diffuse SSc [dSSc]), age, disease duration, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) levels, autoantibodies, and skin and internal organ involvement.


The physical summary score (PSS) was lower in SSc patients than in controls (P < 0.05), whereas the mental summary score (MSS) was higher in dSSc than in lSSc patients (P < 0.05). Five of 8 single SF-36 domain scores were lower in SSc patients than in controls (P < 0.05). Vitality was higher in dSSc than in controls (P < 0.001). In SSc, elder age correlated with lower PSS; low ACE levels and high skin score correlated with higher general mental health and role limitations due to physical problems, respectively (P < 0.05). Patients with heart involvement had higher scores in general health perceptions (P < 0.05).


The SF-36 shows that HRQOL is impaired in patients with SSc. Higher scores in MSS and vitality in patients with dSSc and correlations of high SF-36 scores with specific organ involvement suggest that SSc patients with severe disease are more able to cope with HRQOL modification.

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