Publication Date



Arthritis Research & Therapy



To describe the clinical phenotype and prognosis of people in the Australian Scleroderma (SSc) Cohort Study with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) with or without interstitial lung disease (ILD).


Participants meeting ACR/EULAR criteria for SSc were divided into four mutually exclusive groups: those meeting criteria for PAH (PAH-only), ILD (ILD-only), concurrent PAH and ILD (PAH-ILD) or neither PAH nor ILD (SSc-only). Logistic or linear regression analyses were used for associations between clinical features, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and physical function. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan–Meier estimates and Cox-regression modelling.


Of 1561 participants, 7% fulfilled criteria for PAH-only, 24% ILD-only, 7% PAH-ILD and 62% SSc-only. People with PAH-ILD were more frequently male, with diffuse skin involvement, higher inflammatory markers, older age of SSc onset and higher frequency of extensive ILD than the cohort overall (p < 0.001). People of Asian race more frequently developed PAH-ILD (p < 0.001). People with PAH-ILD or PAH-only had worse WHO functional class and 6-min-walk-distance than ILD-only (p < 0.001). HRQoL scores were worst in those with PAH-ILD (p < 0.001).

Survival was reduced in the PAH-only and PAH-ILD groups (p < 0.01). Multivariable hazard modelling demonstrated the worst prognosis in extensive ILD and PAH (HR = 5.65 95% CI 3.50–9.12 p < 0.01), followed by PAH-only (HR = 4.21 95% CI 2.89–6.13 p < 0.01) and PAH with limited ILD (HR = 2.46 95% CI 1.52–3.99 p < 0.01).


The prevalence of concurrent PAH-ILD in the ASCS is 7%, with poorer survival in those patients with PAH-ILD compared to ILD or SSc alone. The presence of PAH confers a poorer overall prognosis than even extensive ILD; however, further data are required to better understand the clinical outcomes of this high-risk patient group.


Pulmonary hypertension, Interstitial lung disease, Survival, Quality of life



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