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J Rheumatol. 2000 Jun;27(6):1421-8.

Do lupus disease activity measures detect clinically important change?

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  • 1McGill University Health Center, Department of Medicine, Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, Quebec, Canada. paul.fortin@uhn.on.ca



New scales for the clinical assessment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are valid and reliable, and quantitate disease activity. We assessed the responsiveness to change of 2 widely used standardized multi-item lupus activity measures, the revised Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM-R) and the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), and their ability to detect clinically relevant changes.


Ninety-six (96) patients with definite SLE participated in this study. The group mean age was 45.0 (13.7) years, 91% were female, and the mean disease duration was 14.9 (7.5) years. Sociodemographic information, lupus activity (SLAM-R, SLEDAI), and damage were recorded at baseline. At each of the 5 monthly followup visits, the activity measures were repeated and a transition scale asked the physician if their patient's lupus activity had changed. Five different methods were used to compare the responsiveness of the activity measures studied: 1. the effect size; 2. the standardized response mean; 3. the control standardized response mean; 4. the area under the curve of a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve; and 5. a new multiple response modeling approach.


Both SLAM-R and SLEDAI are responsive. SLAM-R is consistently, although moderately, more responsive than SLEDAI. All 5 methods of evaluating responsiveness yielded a consistent ranking of disease activity measures.


SLAM-R and SLEDAI are responsive measures of lupus activity. SLAM-R appears to be more responsive than SLEDAI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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