Background Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease characterized by skin and internal organs fibrosis, microvascular impairment and frequently by disability and early retirement.
Objectives To assess employment status, risk factors for early retirement (ER) and the associations of ER with disease characteristics and with patients' health-related questionnaires (Scleroderma Health Assessment Questionnaire (SHAQ)) and hand function (Duruoz hand index (DHI)).
Methods This study included patients with SSc according to the 2013 ACR/EULAR classification criteria, examined in our EUSTAR center from 11.2011 to 11.2016, who were under the legal age of retirement of in our country (62 years). Patients completed a work assessment questionnaire, the DHI and the SHAQ, as well as a full assessment as per the recommendations of EUSTAR.
Logistic regression was used to investigate the associations between employment status (outcome) and potential predictors (including socio-economic status, education, disease characteristics and health-related questionnaires).
Results There were 66 patients (8 males, mean±SD age 49.1±9.3 years, 19 with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc), 46 with history of digital ulcers (DUs) and 23 with joint contractures) included. Forty-two patients lived in urban environments and 42 had higher education (high school or above).
Twenty patients were active professionally, whereas 46 were retired, of which 32 retired because of SSc. Of those active professionally, 8 had to do manual labor, 7 had to spend many hours at work standing and 3 had a cold or moist work environment.
Using logistic regression adjusted for age and gender, higher education was found to be highly associated with employment (OR (95% CI) 9.0 (1.5, 52.4)), whereas labor conditions (manual labor, stress) had no significant influence on employment status in our cohort. No association was found between employment status and disease characteristics or SHAQ and DHI questionnaires.
Conclusions SSc is associated with substantial work disability and unemployment. Completing less education than high school was associated with early retirement.
Acknowledgements *This abstract was realized as part of the “Development of a computer-based nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC) system for longitudinal evaluation of patients with systemic sclerosis” (QUANTICAP) project, financed by the UEFIS-CDI PN-II-PT-PCCA-2013–4-1589 grant.
Disclosure of Interest None declared