Commentary

Have earlier diagnosis and treatment advances cut deaths from systemic sclerosis?


 

This abstract highlights a promising result for our younger patients diagnosed with systemic sclerosis. The fact that patients aged 44 years and younger with systemic sclerosis now have a death rate similar to that of the general population should be celebrated. Practicing clinicians can speculate why this trend has occurred. It is well known that these patients many times suffer from cardiopulmonary involvement.

Thus, the advances in the treatment of interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension may account for the decreased mortality in this population.

Earlier detection has certainly helped this group. In addition, using immune modulators earlier at disease onset is likely another contributor to this positive trend. We are entering a decade and beyond filled with hope to change the course of this particular autoimmune disease.

Dr. Elana M. Oberstein of the Univesity of Miami Health System

Dr. Elana M. Oberstein

Dr. Oberstein is a practicing rheumatologist at the University of Miami Health System and is senior medical director of musculoskeletal at Modernizing Medicine in Boca Raton, Fla. She has no relevant disclosures to report.

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