Quality of life and psychological assessment in patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy: prospective observational study

Vittorio Schweiger, Erica Secchettin, Giovanni Perini, Alvise Martini, Katia Donadello, Leonardo Gottin, Giovanna Del Balzo, Giustino Varrassi, Enrico Polati
Quality of life and psychological assessment in patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy: prospective observational study
Signa Vitae. 2022. 18(1);41-46 - DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.127

Abstract

Introduction: Chronic pain patients who undergo to stressful events may experience worsening in pain, sleep, and quality of life (QoL). The primary objective of this observational study was to compare QoL and sleep parameters before and after the COVID-19 lockdown in patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). The psychological impact of lockdown was also assessed, as well as the emotional impact of the pandemic and its correlations with patient socio-demographics.

Methods: Patients aged ≥18 years with FMS diagnosed according to ACR (American College of Rheumatology) 2016 Criteria with at least one pre-pandemic QoL and sleep evaluation were included. QoL and sleep disturbances were analyzed by comparing scores on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire-Revised (FIQ-R), the 12-item Short Form Survey (SF-12), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) before and after the first lockdown in Italy (March to May 2020). Psychological impact was investigated via a 52-item survey of daily life changes in FMS management during the lockdown and emotional impact with the Impact Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) tool during the onset period after the lockdown. Questionnaire responses were correlated with patients’ socio-demographics.

Results: Questionnaires were submitted via email to 54 patients; 37/54 patients (63.7%) returned them. QoL and sleep disturbances showed no statistically significant worsening. However, the psychological impact survey revealed that 3 out of 5 patients feared very much for their family members’ lives during lockdown. The emotional impact survey disclosed 72.7% of patients with psychological distress.

Conclusions: While questionnaire responses showed no significant changes in QoL and sleep after the COVID-19 lockdown in this sample of FMS patients, the emotional investigation revealed moderate/severe psychological distress not detected by commonly used QoL tests in FMS.

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