[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disease-related malnutrition is known to negatively affect clinical outcomes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of malnutrition in a cohort of outpatients affected by Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) and its association with clinical variables.
One hundred sixty SSc patients were consecutively evaluated. The following clinical variables were assessed: disease duration, activity and severity, treatments, functional status, gastrointestinal involvement. Nutritional assessment included: body mass index (BMI), weight loss (WL) history, nutritional intakes and serum prealbumin. Malnutrition was defined as BMI <20 kg/m² and/or previous 6-month WL ≥ 10%.
Prevalence of malnutrition was 15% (10-21%). Logistic regression showed that malnutrition was independently associated with disease activity (OR 3.72; p < 0.001) and low serum prealbumin (OR 8.58; p < 0.001). The association with gastrointestinal involvement was not statistically significant, although a trend was detected (OR 1.88).
Malnutrition is common in SSc outpatients. It appears associated with disease activity and not influenced by nutritional intakes; gastrointestinal involvement might contribute to its development over time. Serum prealbumin could be an early marker of malnutrition in SSc, whose role should be confirmed by further longitudinal investigations. Prospective studies are also required to clarify the clinical significance of the association between malnutrition and disease activity in SSc.