Sjögren's Syndrome Screening Questionnaire Developed for Rheumatologists

March 20, 2022
Giuliana Grossi

Because Sjögren's Syndrome is often undetected or misdiagnosed, investigators developed the Sjögren's Syndrome Screening Questionnaire (SSSQ).

Kimberley Yu, BA, Chinese American Medical Society Summer Research Fellowship, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, led investigators in developing the Sjögren's Syndrome Screening Questionnaire (SSSQ). Rheumatologists referred 974 patients to participate in the Sjögren's International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA) study, and investigators analyzed their data.

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an immune system disorder that's characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth. It often presents with other immune system disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Sjögren's syndrome is easily misdiagnosed as other rheumatologic diseases or undetected altogether.

To fill this gap, investigators designed the SSSQ as a simple 5-item questionnaire so rheumatologists can screen for Sjögren's syndrome in clinical practice.

Differentiating the Data

Patients answered 88 questions about their symptoms, medical history, and demographics. Ocular, dental, and serologic tests were also used as evaluation, differentiating between patients with Sjögren's syndrome and those without.

Investigators divided patients using the 2016 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism classification criteria. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to "identify questions most discriminative of SS". From there, an individuals likelihood of SS (SSSQ score) was procured.

Identifying the Significant Questions

An SSSQ score of equal to or greater than 7 (range 0-11) determined if patients were in the Sjögren's syndrome group or the non-Sjögren's syndrome group. In the multivariate analysis, 5 questions that were significantly discriminative of Sjögren's syndrome were identified (P < 0.05):

  • Can you eat a cracker without drinking a fluid/liquid?
  • How would you describe your dental and oral health in general?
  • During the last week, have you experienced tearing?
  • Are you able to produce tears?
  • Do you currently smoke cigarettes?

The survey is meant to be used as an effective rheumatologic tool in regular clinical practice. The long-term objective is to reduce delays in diagnosing the disease so patients can receive prompt treatment.

The study, "Preliminary Screening Questionnaire for Sjögren's Syndrome in the Rheumatology Setting" was published in JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.


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