Various complex symptoms occur in the lives of persons with multiple sclerosis. Certain symptoms, such as pain, depression, and fatigue have been found to correlate with quality of life. Studies are lacking, however, that clearly identify other subgroups of symptoms to link them to clinical characteristics or outcomes such as quality of life or disability status.
We aimed to determine distinct cluster groups of symptoms in persons with relapsing-remitting (RRMS).
Methods: A convenience sample of 140 participants with RRMS was used in this study. Subjects completed the MS-Related Symptom Scale (MS-RS) (modified from previous focus groups), and a demographic survey.
The sample was comprised of mainly women (74%), who were white (84%), and average age of 44 years old. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, three groups of symptoms were elucidated: 1) heat/mobility cluster; 2) psychological-emotional cluster and 3) vision cluster.
These preliminary findings suggest distinct symptom cluster groups occur in patients with RRMS. Monitoring symptom that cluster together may allow for timely and tailored interventions. Identification of predictors of these symptom subgroups warrants additional investigation.