Quality of life and pain in patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

Luca Padua, Irene Aprile, Roberto Frusciante, Elisabetta Iannaccone, Monica Rossi, Rosaria Renna, Sonia Messina, Giuseppina Frasca, Enzo Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess quality of life (QoL) and evaluate the occurrence and characteristics of pain in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) patients. No study has yet assessed QoL in a large group of FSHD patients and, overall, few studies have assessed pain in neuromuscular diseases. We performed a prospective study using a multidimensional protocol including: clinical (according to the Clinical Severity Scale Rev1); genetic (p13E-11 EcoRI fragments Rev1); QoL (Short Form-36); pain (Visual Analog Scale and Portenoy-6 questions); and depression (Beck Depression Inventory) assessment. QoL measures of FSHD were compared with those of Italian norms. Moreover, we correlated QoL and pain measurements with clinical findings. Sixty-five patients were enrolled in the study. QoL was statistically significantly reduced with respect to the Italian normative sample, mainly in physical domains. Our study demonstrated that pain is frequent in FSHD patients. More than half of the patients complained of at least moderate pain. Women complained of slightly higher levels of deterioration in the emotional aspects of QoL than men. Clinical pattern (as assessed by Clinical Severity Scale) was closely related to physical QoL domains: the higher the clinical involvement, the more severe the QoL deterioration. This study provided information that may be crucial in clinical practice: pain may be a relevant aspect in FSHD patients, and prevention strategies or relevant therapies should be considered as appropriate. Moreover, we must pay more attention to gender differences: women can suffer far greater deterioration in the emotional aspects of QoL. Further multidimensional observations are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-205
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Disability
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • Muscle disease
  • Pain
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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