PURPOSE: Arthropathy is a common and disabling complication of acromegaly. Since in this condition radiological findings rarely correspond to functional impairment, we elected to quantify in a large cohort of acromegalic patients: the degree of motor disability compared with data from general population, the impact of joint involvement on quality of life and work productivity, and to look for associated factors.
METHODS: In 211 acromegalic patients, 131 with controlled disease and 80 with active disease, eight validated scales were used to evaluate the (i) prevalence and distribution of arthropathy, (ii) degree of motor disability and joint symptoms (VAS, AIMS symptoms and WOMAC), (iii) quality of life (AcroQoL and PASQ) and work capability (WPAI:GH) as consequences of joint complications.
RESULTS: Using the WOMAC questionnaire, for which population based normative values are available, a significantly higher prevalence and severity of motor disability was detected in acromegalics compared to the general population from literature. The results provided by the different questionnaires turned out to be highly concordant. All measures of motor disability correlated both with impaired quality of life and motor disability and were worse in females and in patients with higher BMI.
CONCLUSIONS: The questionnaires VAS, AIMS symptoms, and WOMAC (this latter both as a whole and with its functionality subscale), with their scores, proved to be the most adequate tools to evaluate motor disability and its consequences on both quality of life and work productivity in acromegaly. Female gender and higher BMI are associated with worse articular symptoms.