To identify the clinical characteristics of systemic sclerosis (SSc) that best correlate with the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with SSc, using the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHODAS II) as the measure of HRQOL.
A cross-sectional, multicenter study of 337 patients from the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group Registry was conducted. Patients were assessed through detailed clinical histories, medical examination, and the WHODAS II. Hierarchical multiple linear regression was used to assess the relationship between selected clinical variables and HRQOL.
The mean WHODAS II score was 23.7 (range 0–100), with the greatest impairments seen in the subscales measuring life activities, mobility, and participation in society. In multivariate analysis, significant predictors of the WHODAS II were skin scores, shortness of breath, number of gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, pain, and depression. The final model explained 61% of the variance in the WHODAS II scores.
The clinical characteristics identified in this study as significant correlates of HRQOL in SSc should each be targets of intervention in order to improve the HRQOL of patients with this disease.