- To compare the mortality rate in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) with that of the general population. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated for 237 patients with SSc followed prospectively, using age and sex specific mortality rates in Ontario for the period 1976-1990. The overall SMR for the SSc cohort was 4.69. The mortality rate was greater with diffuse than with limited scleroderma (SMR 6.18 and 3.80, respectively), but not different between men and women. The mortality rate in SSc is increased compared to that of the general population, especially in the subset with diffuse disease.