[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare disease requiring multicentre collaboration to reveal comprehensive details of disease-related causes for morbidity and mortality.
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) group initiated a database to prospectively gather key data of patients with SSc using a minimal essential dataset that was reorganised in 2008 introducing new items. Baseline visit data of patients who were registered between 2004 and 2011 were analysed using descriptive statistics.
In June 2011, 7655 patients (2838 with diffuse cutaneous (dc) and 4481 with limited cutaneous (lc) SSc who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria had been registered in 174 centres, mainly European. The most prominent hallmarks of disease were Raynaud's phenomenon (96.3%), antinuclear antibodies (93.4%) and a typical capillaroscopic pattern (90.9%). Scleroderma was more common on fingers and hands than on any other part of the skin. Proton pump inhibitors (65.2%), calcium channel blockers (52.7%), and corticosteroids (45.3%) were most often prescribed. Among the immunosuppressant agents, cyclophosphamide was used more often in dcSSc than in lcSSc.
The EUSTAR database provides an abundance of information on the true clinical face of SSc that will be helpful in improving the classification of SSc and its subsets and for developing more specific therapeutic recommendations.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 05/2012; 71(8):1355-60. · 8.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine if mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) can be considered an independent clinical entity, to compare 3 different classification criteria for MCTD (Kasukawa, Alarcón-Segovia, and Sharp), and to define predictors (clinical features and autoantibodies) of potential evolution toward other connective tissue diseases (CTDs).
One hundred sixty-one MCTD patients were evaluated retrospectively at the diagnosis and in 2008. They were classified, at the diagnosis, according to the 3 classification criteria of MCTD (Sharp, Alarcón-Segovia, and Kasukawa) and reclassified in 2008 according to their evolution. Statistical analyses were performed to find out predictors (clinical features and autoantibodies) of evolution into other CTDs.
After a mean of 7.9 years of disease, 57.9% of patients still satisfied MCTD classification criteria of Kasukawa; 17.3% evolved into systemic sclerosis, 9.1% into systemic lupus erythematosus, 2.5% into rheumatoid arthritis, 11.5% was reclassified as affected by undifferentiated connective tissue disease, and 1.7% as suffering from overlap syndrome. Kasukawa's criteria were more sensitive (75%) in comparison to those of Alarcón-Segovia (73%) and Sharp (42%). The presence of anti-DNA antibodies (P = 0.012) was associated with evolution into systemic lupus erythematosus; hypomotility or dilation of esophagus (P < 0.001); and sclerodactyly (P = 0.034) with evolution into systemic sclerosis.
MCTD is a distinct clinical entity but it is evident that a subgroup of patients may evolve into another CTD during disease progression. Initial clinical features and autoantibodies can be useful to predict disease evolution.
Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism 09/2011; 41(4):589-98. · 4.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the prevalence of and independent factors associated with joint involvement in a large population of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
This study was cross-sectional, based on data collected on patients included in the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) registry. We queried this database to extract data regarding global evaluation of patients with SSc and the presence of any clinical articular involvement: synovitis (tender and swollen joints), tendon friction rubs (rubbing sensation detected as the tendon was moved), and joint contracture (stiffness of the joints that decreased their range of motion). Overall joint involvement was defined by the occurrence of synovitis and/or joint contracture and/or tendon friction rubs.
We recruited 7286 patients with SSc; their mean age was 56 +/- 14 years, disease duration 10 +/- 9 years, and 4210 (58%) had a limited cutaneous disease subset. Frequencies of synovitis, tendon friction rubs, and joint contractures were 16%, 11%, and 31%, respectively. Synovitis, tendon friction rubs, and joint contracture were more prevalent in patients with the diffuse cutaneous subset and were associated together and with severe vascular, muscular, renal, and interstitial lung involvement. Moreover, synovitis had the highest strength of association with elevated acute-phase reactants taken as the dependent variable.
Our results highlight the striking level of articular involvement in SSc, as evaluated by systematic examination in a large cohort of patients with SSc. Our data also show that synovitis, joint contracture, and tendon friction rubs are associated with a more severe disease and with systemic inflammation.
The Journal of Rheumatology 07/2010; 37(7):1488-501. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In systemic sclerosis (SSc), joint involvement may reduce the functional capacity of the hands. Intravenous immunoglobulins have previously been shown to benefit patients with SSc.
To verify the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulins on joint involvement and function in SSc.
7 women with SSc, 5 with limited and 2 with diffuse SSc, with a severe and refractory joint involvement were enrolled in the study. Methotrexate and cyclophosphamide pulse therapy did not ameliorate joint symptoms. Hence, intravenous immunoglobulins therapy was prescribed at a dosage of 2 g/kg body weight during 4 days/month for six consecutive courses. The presence of joint tenderness and swelling, and articular deformities (due to primary joint involvement and not due to skin and subcutaneous changes) were evaluated. Before and after 6 months of treatment, patients were subjected to (1) Ritchie Index (RI) evaluation of joint involvement; (2) Dreiser Algo-Functional Index (IAFD) evaluation of hand joint function; (3) pain visual analogue scale (VAS) to measure joint pain; (4) Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) to evaluate the limitations in everyday living and physical disability; and (5) modified Rodnan Skin Score for skin involvement.
After 6 months of intravenous immunoglobulins therapy, joint pain and tenderness, measured with the VAS, decreased significantly (p<0.03), and hand function (IAFD) improved significantly (p<0.02), together with the quality of life (HAQ; p<0.03). All patients significantly improved, except for one. The skin score after 6 months of intravenous immunoglobulins therapy was significantly reduced (p<0.003).
This pilot study suggests that intravenous immunoglobulins may reduce joint pain and tenderness, with a significant recovery of joint function in patients with SSc with severe and refractory joint involvement. The cost of intravenous immunoglobulins might limit their use only to patients who failed disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 07/2007; 66(7):977-9. · 9.11 Impact Factor