Objective. To evaluate the patient-perceived effects of Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) on health, function, income, and interpersonal relationships. Methods. A self-administered questionnaire, originally designed by the authors and subsequently revised with the aid of a patient focus group, was completed by 60 patients with well-defined features of WG. Patients had WG for a median period of 5 years. Results. Patients with chronic WG experienced substantial medical and functional morbidity and incurred significant socioeconomic losses. A prolonged delay in diagnosis (mean 16.8 months) and the need for multiple consultations prior to initiation of therapy may have contributed to medical morbidity. Although 73% of patients perceived their disease to be in remission following therapy, 78% of these patients required continuing immunosuppressive treatment many years after diagnosis. Eighty percent of patients reported that their normal activities of daily living were compromised. Half of those who were employed prior to diagnosis were required to modify their job or accept total disability (31%). A 26% (median) reduction in income within 1 year after diagnosis was reported. The effects of the disease on interpersonal relationships with a patient's spouse, family, and friends varied considerably. Conclusion. Advances in medical care have, for most patients, transformed WG from being a disease with a high potential for short-term mortality to being a chronic illness. This is the first study that has evaluated patients' assessments of the medical, socioeconomic, and quality of life effects of WG and its treatment. The effects of mortality, disability, and outpatient medical expenses indicate that the financial impact alone substantially exceeds prior estimates of $30 million per year in charges for hospitalizations in the US.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Arthritis and Rheumatism|
|State||Published - 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pharmacology (medical)