Impact of vasculitis on employment and income
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology
© Copyright Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2018. Objective. Work disability associated with rheumatic diseases accounts for a substantial financial burden. However, few studies have investigated disability among patients with vasculitis. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of vasculitis on patient employment and income. Methods. Patients enrolled in the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC) Patient Contact Registry, living in the USA or Canada, and followed for >1 year post-diagnosis, participated in an online survey-based study. Results. 421 patients with different systemic vasculitides completed the survey between June and December 2015. The majority of patients were female (70%) and Caucasian (90%); granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) was the most common type of vasculitis (49%), and the mean age at the time of diagnosis was 53 years. At the time of their diagnosis of vasculitis 76% of patients were working a paid job, 6% were retired, and 2% were on disability. Over the course of their disease, and with a mean follow-up of 8±6.4 years post-diagnosis, 26% of participants became permanently work disabled or had to retire early due to vasculitis. Variables that were independently associated with permanent work disability included work physicality, less supportive work environment, and symptoms such as respiratory disease, pain, and cognitive impairment. Overall, patients reported a mean productivity loss of 6.9% and income was reduced by a median of 45%. Conclusion. Due to their vasculitis, patients frequently suffer substantial limitations in work and productivity, and personal income loss.