In a study, men were shown to have a shorter interlude after a systemic sclerosis diagnosis to the occurrence of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and had a shorter disease duration.

The data “suggest that although PAH is less frequent in males, they may have more aggressive disease,” the researchers wrote online in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

The current literature on the influence of sex on SSc-PAH is controversial. “The effect of sex on age of onset, time to diagnosis, disease duration, disease manifestations, and survival in SSc-PAH is not well understood,” they wrote. They therefore sought to improve the understanding of sex-based disparities in SSc-PAH.

They identified 378 SSc-PAH patients from the University Health Network Pulmonary Hypertension Program, a large single-center longitudinal cohort in Canada. Adult SSc-PAH patients seen from 1998 to 2014 were included in the analysis. The female-to-male ratio of patients was 5.5:1.

Men had a greater disease burden than women, as shown by increased frequencies of renal crisis (19% vs 8%, RR 2.33, 95% CI 1.22-4.46), interstitial lung disease (67% vs 48%, RR 1.41, 95 %CI 1.14-1.74), and diffuse cutaneous disease (40% versus 22%, RR 1.84, 95% CI 1.26-2.69).

Despite these differences, male sex did not have an independent adverse impact on SSc-PAH survival.

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