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Arch Neurol. 2000 Sep;57(9):1319-24.

Clinical significance of the multiple sclerosis functional composite: relationship to patient-reported quality of life.

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Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, U-10, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



The Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) was recommended by a task force of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a new clinical outcome measure for clinical trials. The task force recommended that the MSFC be validated against other measures of the disease, such as patient-reported quality of life.


Three hundred patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) representing the spectrum of disease severity were included in this cross-sectional study. The MSFC and Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) were used as measures of disease severity. Clinical relevance of the disease severity scores was analyzed using measures included in the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory. The MSFC and EDSS scores were correlated with self-reported employment status, the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), and the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP).


The MSFC and EDSS scores were strongly correlated (r = -0.80, P<.001). The MSFC scores were correlated with patient-reported physical functioning (SIP Physical Summary Scale: r = -0.71, P<.001; SF-36 Physical Component Score: r = -0.41, P<.001). The MSFC scores were significantly but more weakly correlated with emotional functioning (SIP Psychosocial Summary Scale: r = -0.34, P<.001). After controlling for EDSS scores, there were significant residual correlations between the MSFC scores and measures of health-related quality of life, suggesting that the MSFC accounts for the variability in health-related quality of life measures not reflected by the EDSS.


The observed strong correlations between MSFC scores and validated measures of self-reported quality of life indicate that the MSFC scores are clinically relevant. This study supports a recommendation by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Task Force to use the MSFC as a clinical outcome measure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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