Objective Dystonia is characterised by sustained muscular contractions frequently producing repetitive and twisting movements. The primary aim of this systematic review was to establish how quality of life (QoL) is affected in idiopathic focal, multifocal and segmental dystonia. This review aimed to evaluate variations in QoL between different subtypes of dystonia, identify the determinants of QoL and assess the effects of different treatments on QoL.
Methodology A systematic computer-based literature search was conducted using the PubMed database to search for papers on QoL in idiopathic focal, segmental, multifocal and generalized dystonia. We identified 75 studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Information was extracted regarding prevalence, demographics and response to treatment where indicated.
Results This review revealed QoL to be a significant yet overlooked issue in idiopathic dystonia. Data consistently showed that dystonia has a negative effect on QoL in patients compared to healthy controls, when measured using disease specific and generic QoL measures. The majority of studies (n=25) involved patients with cervical dystonia, followed by benign-essential blepharospasm (n=10). Along with the beneficial effect to the dystonia symptoms, treatment using Botulinum Toxin and Deep Brain Stimulation is also effective in improving overall QoL across the majority of subtypes.
Conclusion The findings demonstrate that patients’ QoL should routinely be assessed and monitored, as this may affect subsequent management. Further research will allow for more robust management of non-physical impairments.
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