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Keywords:

  • frequency;
  • sicca symptoms;
  • Sjögren's syndrome;
  • systemic sclerosis

Abstract

Objective

The objectives are to detect the frequency of sicca symptoms and Sjögren's syndrome (SS) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) based on the diagnostic criteria of the American–European Consensus Group (AECG) and to evaluate demographic, clinical and serologic characteristics.

Patients and method

One hundred and eighteen SSc patients referred to our hospital were included in this study. All SSc patients were questioned with respect to sicca symptoms. Levels of rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies were measured; non-stimulated saliva amounts were recorded and Schirmer test and break-up time were applied to all patients. Minor salivary gland biopsy samples were obtained from those patients giving ≥ 3 positive answers to sicca symptom questions, patients with positive xerostomia/xerophthalmia test results, and patients with at least one antibody being positive. Patients presenting with grade 3 and/or grade 4 sialoadenitis based on Chisholm criteria were considered pathological.

Results

Sicca symptoms were present in 84 of 118 patients with SSc (71.2%). Minor salivary gland biopsy samples were obtained from 74 patients. Grade 3 and/or grade 4 sialoadenitis was detected in 40 (33.9%) patients and they were diagnosed with SS. Compared to patients diagnosed with SSc alone, systemic sclerosis patients diagnosed with SS had lower pulmonary hypertension and less diffuse lung involvement. Statistically significant difference was detected in terms of sclerodactylia and telangiectasia between SSc–SS and SSc patient groups (= 0.045 and = 0.011, respectively). Serological assessments revealed that in the SSc–SS group, 13 patients were anti-Ro antibody positive, six were anti-La antibody positive and 37 were anti-topoisomerase 1 antibody positive. RF, ANA and anti-centromere antibody levels were higher in the SSc–SS group.

Conclusion

In the present study, highly frequent sicca symptoms and Sjögren's syndrome based on AECG criteria were noted in patients with systemic sclerosis. The SSc–SS patient group had less severe clinical course and lung involvement.