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Abstract

Objective

Chronic disease affects both patients and spouses, yet the effect of vasculitis on the spouses of patients has not been systematically examined. We addressed this research gap by describing 8 dimensions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody–associated vasculitis (AAV) patients and their spouses and compared patients and spouses with norms for the general US population. We also determined whether the impact of AAV on HRQOL differs by sex for patients or their spouses.

Methods

Ninety-seven patients with AAV and their spouses completed a mailed questionnaire that included demographic information and a measure of HRQOL (Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36.) Using the RAND method, we calculated 8 HRQOL dimensions: general health, physical functioning, emotional role limitations, physical role limitations, social functioning, mental health, bodily pain, and energy/vitality. Using norm-based scores, we compared the HRQOL of patients and spouses with the general US population. We then used multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) test for sex differences in HRQOL for patients and spouses.

Results

Patients with AAV scored lower than the US norm on all HRQOL subscales with the exception of bodily pain. In contrast, spouses scored similarly to national norms. When age, education, race, illness duration, and disease severity were controlled, there were no significant sex differences in HRQOL for patients or spouses.

Conclusion

AAV negatively impacts HRQOL for patients; whereas, spouses do not appear to be as negatively impacted. Long-term marriages may attenuate the effect of sex on HRQOL. Quality of life should be assessed throughout the disease course for both patients and spouses.