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Effect of Gastrointestinal Manifestations on Quality of Life in 87 Consecutive Patients with Systemic Sclerosis
The Journal of Rheumatology,

Omair MA et al. – Gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations, especially fecal incontinence (affecting 22% of patients), have a negative influence on the quality of life of patients with SSc. There was no difference between systemic sclerosis (SSc) disease subtypes.

Methods
  • The University of California, Los Angeles Scleroderma Clinical Trial Consortium Gastrointestinal Tract 2 questionnaire was completed by 87 consecutive patients with SSc attending the scleroderma clinic at a single center.
  • Their clinical features and current therapies were recorded; 100 patients with rheumatologic disorders other than SSc were used as controls.
  • Individual scores were compared between SSc and controls, and between SSc subgroups.

Results
  • Of 87 patients, 76 (90%) were women. Median age was 55 years and disease duration 105 months. Thirty–three (38%) had diffuse and 54 (62%) had limited SSc.
  • Patients with SSc had a higher score than controls in all domains (p < 0.05).
  • Numbers of patients who responded positively to individual questionnaire components are as follows: any GI symptom 86 (99%), reflux 77 (89%), distension 73 (84%), soilage 19 (22%), diarrhea 44 (51%), constipation 51 (59%), well–being 43 (49%), and social 43 (49%).
  • There was no difference between the scores of patients with diffuse and limited disease subtypes.
  • The use of calcium channel blockers did not significantly increase the constipation score (p = 0.99).
  • Patients who responded positively to the reflux, distension, diarrhea, and constipation domains had lower scores in the well–being and social domains.

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