Background: Vascular comorbidities are prevalent in the multiple sclerosis (MS) population and can contribute to adverse health outcomes in persons with MS (PwMS). Characterizing the perceived impact that vascular comorbidities may have on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and healthcare utilization of PwMS may be beneficial in improving outcomes and disease management in this subpopulation.
Objectives: To describe the prevalence of vascular comorbidities in a sample of PwMS receiving care at a comprehensive MS care center.
To determine if there is a difference in HRQOL and healthcare resource utilization in PwMS with and without a vascular comorbidity.
Methods: Participants were recruited from a comprehensive MS care center located in a community hospital. A total of 185 PwMS completed a web-based, REDCap survey anonymously. Responses were self-reported. Demographics, comorbid conditions, disability level (Patient Determined Disease Steps), healthcare resource utilization, barriers to care, and responses to the 29-item Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life (MSQOL-29) were collected.
Results: Among this sample of PwMS, approximately 35% of individuals reported at least one vascular comorbidity, with the most common being hypertension (27.0%), followed by hyperlipidemia (24.9%), diabetes (8.1%), stroke (1.6%), and heart disease (1.1%). Those reporting a vascular comorbidity were older (53.7±10.2 vs. 46.0±12.4, p<0.001), had higher levels of disability (3.0±2.4 vs. 2.1±2.2, p=0.009), longer disease duration (13.3±8.7 vs. 11.3± 10.1, p=0.044), higher BMI (31.7±8.2 vs. 27.7±8.0, p<0.001), and worse physical HRQOL compared to those without a vascular comorbidity (48.01±19.02 vs. 59.63±24.72, p=0.001). No differences in barriers to care, psychological HRQOL, or healthcare resource utilization were seen between groups. Conclusions: The current study demonstrates that the subset of PwMS having vascular comorbidities are more likely to have higher levels of disability and worse physical HRQOL yet may not have greater utilization of healthcare resources. Further review is needed to better understand the impact of vascular comorbidities to identify optimal treatment interventions.