Objective: To characterise the psychological profiles of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and patients with sicca symptoms but without SS; to find predictors for salivary gland function; to evaluate salivary scintigraphy as a method to differentiate between SS and patients with sicca symptoms but without SS.
Patients and methods: Psychological tests (Medical Outcomes Study Short Form General Health Survey (SF-36), Jenkins Activity Survey, Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and Maastricht Questionnaire for vital exhaustion) were performed and assessment of the function of the salivary glands made in 26 patients with primary SS, 8 with secondary SS, and 9 with sicca symptoms but without SS. Data were analysed with BMDP new system version 1.0 statistical program.
Results: Psychological profiles were similar in all groups. Hb, RF, ANA, and SSA differentiated between the groups. Results of salivary scintigraphy were predicted to 51% by ANA, SSA, SSB, IgG, IgA, diagnosis, vitality, and role limitations due to emotional problems. No predictors were found for the resting salivary flow. Salivary scintigraphy was pathological in 21/26 (81%) and in 8/8 (100%) patients with secondary SS, but only in 2/9 (22%) patients with sicca symptoms without SS (p=0.002) (sensitivity 85.3%, specificity 77.8%).
Conclusions: Patients with sicca symptoms but without SS have sickness behaviour similar to that of patients with SS. The results of salivary scintigraphy can be predicted by diagnosis and autoimmune findings; psychological characteristics added 20% to this predictive value. Distinction between SS and patients with sicca symptoms but without SS is difficult, but in addition to autoantibodies, salivary scintigraphy can be used for this purpose.