Cutaneous Vasculitis Curtails Quality of Life

Adults with cutaneous vasculitis experience a significantly diminished quality of life across physical, symptom, and emotional domains, and its measurement with an organ-specific instrument may catch important disease outcomes better than a generic health-related quality of life index, according to survey responses from participants in the Vasculitis Patient-Powered Research Network (VPPRN).

Although cutaneous vasculitis often causes itching, pain, and ulceration, the impact of the disease on specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes has not been systematically assessed, wrote Sarah Mann, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues.

In a study published in JAMA Dermatology, the researchers used the VPPRN to conduct an online survey of adults aged 18 years and older with cutaneous manifestations of vasculitis. The survey was conducted between January 2020 and August 2021.

The primary outcomes of HRQOL were determined using two validated measures. One measured skin-related HRQOL (the Effects of Skin Disease on Quality-of-Life Survey [Skindex-29]), and the other measured general health and well-being (36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36]).

The final analysis included 190 survey responses. The mean age of the respondents was 50.5 years, 84.1% were female, and approximately two-thirds reported a duration of vasculitis of at least 5 years. Respondents’ vasculitides included cutaneous small-vessel vasculitis (14%), IgA vasculitis (6.5%), urticarial vasculitis (8.4%), granulomatosis with polyangiitis (17.6%), microscopic polyangiitis (10.3%), eosinophilic vasculitis (15%), polyarteritis nodosa (3.7%), and other vasculitis types (24.2%).

On the Skindex-29 domains, severely or very severely diminished HRQOL was reported by 77.6% of respondents for emotions, 78.5% for symptoms, 60.7% for functioning, and 75.7% for overall HRQOL.

On the SF-36, the HRQOL was below average on six of eight domains, and approximately half of the patients had summative physical component scores (56%) and mental component scores (52%) below 50.

The HRQOL outcomes of cutaneous vasculitis were worse on the Skindex-29 than the SF-36, the researchers noted. “This discordance may reflect the value of disease or organ-specific measures, which may be able to capture important outcomes of disease even when generic measures do not,” they said.

The study findings were limited by several factors, including the potential lack of generalizability to broader populations of vasculitis patients, the researchers noted. Other limitations included the underrepresentation of male patients and the lack of a disease-specific patient-reported outcome measure, they said.

In addition, “Because half of patients reported having disease which was in remission or mildly active, the study findings may underestimate the true role of active cutaneous vasculitis on HRQOL,” the researchers said.

More studies are needed to assess how HRQOL measures respond to disease treatment and control, the researchers wrote in their discussion. However, the results suggest that cutaneous vasculitis has a significant effect on patients’ perception of their health, as well as on their well-being and symptoms, they said.

The study was supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Mann had no financial conflicts to disclose. Several coauthors disclosed relationships with multiple companies, including GlaxoSmithKline.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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