Objective. Serum prealbumin is a recognized marker of malnutrition, but its role in the prognosis of patients with SSc has not yet been investigated. The aim of the present multicentre prospective study was to investigate the association between prealbumin and mortality, independent of clinical features, in a cohort of SSc outpatients.
Methods. Patients were followed up according to standard clinical guidelines with visits at least every 6 months. Data collected included records of skin and internal organ involvement, survival and causes of death.
Results. During a median follow-up of 48 months [interquartile range (IQR) 25–58], 34/299 patients (11%) died. In univariable survival analysis, age; male sex; lung, gastrointestinal or multiple visceral organ involvement (two or more); co-morbidities (two or more) and low serum prealbumin were significant predictors of mortality. In bivariable Cox models, alternatively adjusted for significant predictors, prealbumin was independently and significantly associated with the outcome. Mortality rates were particularly influenced by low prealbumin in patients without significant co-morbidities or multiple organ involvement.
Conclusion. In SSc patients, low serum prealbumin is an independent predictor of mortality, particularly in those without significant internal organ involvement. Further research on this nutritional marker is warranted.