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Quality of life and impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis
  1. A-K Isaksson1,
  2. G Ahlström1,
  3. L-G Gunnarsson2
  1. 1Department of Caring Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Neurology and Movement Disorders, University of Linköping, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 A-K Isaksson
 Department of Caring Sciences, University of Örebro, S-701 82 Örebro, Sweden;


Objectives: The aims of this study were to describe the quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) given immunological treatment and in those not given immunological treatment and to investigate the relationship between impairment and quality of life.

Methods: Twenty nine patients given immunological treatment were matched with the same number of patients not given such treatment. Matching variables were sex, Kurtzke’s Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), years since diagnosis, and age (total n = 58). The patients were interviewed using the self-reported impairment checklist and they answered two questionnaires on quality of life, the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Subjective Estimation of Quality of Life (SQoL).

Results: The self-reported impairment checklist captured a more differentiated picture of the patients’ symptoms of MS than the EDSS. Health related quality of life was markedly reduced, while the subjective quality of life was less affected. There was a stronger association between self-reported ratings of impairment and health related quality of life on the SF-36 than between impairment and global ratings of quality of life on the SQoL. Subjective quality of life on the SQoL was not directly dependent on impairment expressed in physical limitations. There were no statistically significant differences between the treated and untreated groups. A non-significant trend towards better health related quality of life was found in favour of the treated group with respect to emotional role, physical role, and social function on the SF-36.

Conclusions: The self-reported impairment checklist and SF-36 proved to be valuable complements to the well established EDSS in describing the diverse symptoms of MS. Measuring both health related quality of life and subjective wellbeing provides valuable knowledge about the consequences of MS.

  • EDSS, Expanded Disability Status Scale
  • MS, multiple sclerosis
  • QoL, quality of life
  • SF-36, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey
  • SQoL, Subjective Estimation of Quality of Life
  • multiple sclerosis
  • impairment
  • SF-36
  • health-related quality of life
  • wellbeing
  • immunological treatment

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  • This study was supported by grants from the Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Örebro County Council, the Research Committee of Örebro University Hospital, the Swedish Association of the Neurologically Disabled (the NHR Foundation) and the Department of Caring Sciences, University of Örebro.

  • Competing interests: A-KI has been reimbursed for attending several symposiums as a clinical MS-nurse before starting research—for example, RIMS (Rehabilitation in MS) conference. Attendance was for educational purposes for clinical practice and did not involve any presentation. Schering Nordic Inc. (Betaferon) has reimbursed five international conferences and three or four national, Serono (Rebif) one international, and Biogen (Avonex) one national.