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Erythropoietic protoporphyria in the U.K.: clinical features and effect on quality of life

Holme, S. Alexander, Anstey, Alexander Vincent, Finlay, Andrew Yule, Elder, George H. and Badminton, Michael Norman 2006. Erythropoietic protoporphyria in the U.K.: clinical features and effect on quality of life. British Journal of Dermatology 155 (3) , pp. 574-581. 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07472.x

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Background Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) is a rare inherited photodermatosis that causes lifelong painful photosensitivity. Neither its full clinical spectrum nor its impact on quality of life (QoL) has been investigated in a large cohort of patients. Objectives To document the clinical features of EPP and its impact on QoL in a high proportion of all patients with EPP resident in the U.K. Methods Patients with EPP were identified from U.K. clinical databases and assessed by the same clinical investigator over a 7-month period using a standardized proforma and validated adult (Dermatology Life Quality Index, DLQI) and children’s (Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index, CDLQI) QoL questionnaires. Results Three hundred and eighty-nine living patients with EPP were identified, of whom 223 [114 females, 109 males; median age 34 years (range: 5–87), from 193 families] were investigated. Total erythrocyte porphyrin (TEP) was higher in males (median: 25Æ3 lmol L)1) than females (median: 19Æ3 lmol L)1). The median ages at onset and diagnosis were 1 and 12 years, respectively. Median times for onset of symptoms after sun exposure, onset of signs (oedema, erythema) and resolution of symptoms were 20 min, 6 h and 3 days, respectively. Most patients reported absence of protection by glass (92%), priming (85%), exacerbation by wind (68%), no family history of photosensitivity (56%), no symptoms during winter (56%) and had chronic skin lesions (79%). Symptoms changed little with age but improved during pregnancy in 47% of gravid women. Most patients used protective clothing and a sunscreen; 28% were taking b-carotene and a further 56% had taken it; 29% were not under regular medical care. Two patients (1%) had liver failure and 8% reported gallstone disease. QoL was markedly impaired, with scores similar to those in severe dermatological disease (mean DLQI score 14Æ0, n ¼ 176; mean CDLQI score 12Æ8, n ¼ 44), indicating a large effect on patients’ lives. DLQI scores correlated weakly with TEP (rs ¼ 0Æ228; P ¼ 0Æ002) and time to onset of symptoms (rs ¼ )0Æ233; P ¼ 0Æ002) but not with age at onset. Conclusions EPP is a persistent, severely painful, socially disabling disease with a marked impact on QoL. Its diagnosis is often overlooked. None of TEP, age at onset nor time to onset of symptoms is a useful predictor of impaired QoL in individual patients.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RL Dermatology
Uncontrolled Keywords: clinical features, erythropoietic protoporphyria, photosensitivity, porphyria, quality of life
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0007-0963
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2020 16:10

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