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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Quality of life and acquired organ damage are intimately related to activity limitations in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Mathilda Björk, Örjan Dahlström, Jonas Wetterö, Christopher Sjöwall
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MB was responsible of conception and design and drafted the manuscript. ÖD participated in the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis. JW has made substantial contributions to conception and design and interpretation of data. CS was responsible for data collection and made substantial contributions in the preparation of the manuscript. All authors have been involved in revising the manuscript critically and have approved the final version.



Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune multi-organ disease, characterized by episodes of disease flares and remissions over time, which may restrain affected patients’ ability to perform daily activities. The purpose of the present study was to characterize variation in activity limitations among well-defined SLE patients, and to describe disease phenotypes, acquired organ damage and their relations to activity limitation and self-reported health, respectively.


The disease phenotypes were organized into 4 different clinical groups and logistic regression analyses were used to identify how an elevated health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) score was related to disease variables such as phenotypes, disease activity and damage accrual. Correlation and multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the association between each group of variables – background variables, disease variables and self-reported measurements – and the degree of elevated HAQ.


We found a higher proportion of activity limitation in patients with skin and joint involvement compared to others. The presence of activity limitation, as detected by the HAQ instrument, was significantly associated with quality of life (EuroQol–5D) and accrual of organ damage using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborative Clinics/ACR damage index.


The findings highlight the differing requirements of the multi-professional rehabilitation interventions for the various SLE phenotypes in order to optimize the clinical care of the patients.
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