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Shorter life expectancy, higher mortality seen in patients with multiple sclerosis

27 Jul 2017

Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a 7-year shorter life expectancy and almost threefold higher mortality compared with the general population, a recent study has found. In addition, there has been a rise in survival in MS during the entire observation period.

Researchers analysed 1,388 patients with incident MS with onset during 1953 to 2012 in Hordaland County, Western Norway, in this study that sought to investigate survival and causes of death (COD) in a 60-year population-based MS cohort compared with the general population.

Data from patient records at Haukeland University Hospital were collected and linked to the Norwegian COD registry. The authors performed Kaplan-Meier analyses from birth and from disease onset to estimate survival adjusted for sex, age and disease course. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was also used to examine mortality and COD in MS in relation to the general population.

A total of 291 patients died primarily due to MS (56.4 percent). Those with MS had a median life expectancy of 74.7 years (77.2 years for women with MS and 72.2 years for men with MS; p<0.001), while the general population had 81.8 years (p<0.001).

For patients with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), life expectancy was 77.8 years and for primary progressive MS (PPMS) 71.4 years (p<0.001). Overall SMR was 2.7 (p>0.0001), 2.5 in men and 2.9 in women (p=0.0009).

SMR was 2.4 and 3.9 in RRMS and PPMS (p<0.0001), respectively. SMR from disease onset was 3.1 during 1953 to 1974, 2.6 during 1975 to 1996, and 0.7 during 1997 to 2012 (p<0.0083). There was no difference in cause-specific deaths (p=0.0871).

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