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Protein, malnutrition and wasting disorders

The impact of malnutrition on quality of life in patients with systemic sclerosis



Our objective was to investigate the prevalence of malnutrition in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and its impact on their quality of life (QoL).


One hundred and twenty-nine patients with SSc underwent clinical evaluation and were screened with the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST). Malnutrition was defined as MUST score ≥2.To investigate QoL, all patients completed the Short Form 36 Questionnaire and the Scleroderma Health Assessment Questionnaire. The data were analyzed with IBM SPSS® Statistics by using χ2/Fisher's test, Mann–Whitney U test, correlation, and linear regression analysis.


One hundred and twenty-nine patients were included in this study (mean age was 59.1 ± 13.8 years, 90.7% women). The prevalence of malnutrition was 10.9%. Age and disease duration were not significantly different between malnourished and well-nourished patients. All QoL scores (except bodily pain and self-reported health) were significantly impaired in malnourished patients. Furthermore, the Scleroderma Health Assessment Score score which assesses disease-specific QoL was significantly higher in the malnourished patients (1.6 ± 0.73 compared to 0.91 ± 0.61 in well-nourished patients; p = 0.001), reflecting a lower QoL due to disease-specific impairments.


Severe malnutrition in SSc patients is associated with reduced QoL. Standardized nutritional screening should routinely be conducted to identify the risk of malnutrition in order to enable an intervention with multimodal treatment and avoid the serious consequences associated with severe malnutrition.

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Correspondence to Kristina Norman.

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Preis, E., Franz, K., Siegert, E. et al. The impact of malnutrition on quality of life in patients with systemic sclerosis. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 504–510 (2018).

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