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Neurodegener Dis. 2011;8(6):438-46. doi: 10.1159/000325829. Epub 2011 May 12.

Health-related quality of life in multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Philipps University Marburg, Marburg, Germany.



Multiple system atrophy (MSA) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), known as atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS), are neurodegenerative disorders with severe disability and decreased life expectancy. Little is known about the health-related quality of life (HrQoL) and its determinants in patients with those disorders. The objective of our cross-sectional study was to evaluate the HrQoL in patients with APS and to identify the determinants of HrQoL.


A total of 101 consecutive patients with MSA (n = 54) and PSP (n = 47) were recruited in four German neurological centers. Disease severity was assessed using the Hoehn and Yahr stages and the Unified MSA Rating Scale. The HrQoL was evaluated using the EuroQol instrument (EQ-5D and EQ-VAS). Independent determinants of HrQoL were identified in multiple regression analyses.


The mean EQ-VAS score was 52% lower than that reported for the general population (36.9 ± 18.3 vs. 77.4 ± 19.0). Of the study participants, 63% reported severe problems in at least one dimension of the EQ-5D. Cerebellar dysfunction was associated with a more considerable reduction of HrQoL. Independent determinants of reduced HrQoL were female gender, <12 years of education, disease severity, a decreased number of persons in the household and depression.


The HrQoL in MSA and PSP is considerably reduced. While therapeutic options in the treatment of motor symptoms remain restricted, greater attention should be paid to the treatment of depression, which was identified among independent determinants of HrQoL. Independent determinants of HrQoL should be considered when developing healthcare programs aimed at improving the HrQoL in APS.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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