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J Rheumatol. 1995 Apr;22(4):668-74.

Classification criteria for polymyositis and dermatomyositis.

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Service Center, University of Saitama.

Erratum in

  • J Rheumatol 1995 Sep;22(9):1807.



The establishment of classification criteria for polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM).


Questionnaires inquiring about patients with DM, PM, systemic lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis and noninflammatory neuromuscular diseases were distributed to the main medical institutes in Japan. Data were collected and analyzed by computer.


Among skin lesions of DM, heliotrope rash, Gottron's sign and erythema or purpura on the extensor surfaces of the extremity joints were shown to be distinguishing criteria. In both DM and PM, proximal muscle weakness, muscle grasping and spontaneous pain, nondestructive arthritis or arthralgia, elevated CK or aldolase level, presence of systemic inflammatory signs, myogenic changes on EMG, positive and anti Jo-1 antibody and pathologic findings compatible with inflammatory myositis were distinguishing criteria items.


When a patient satisfies one of 3 skin lesion items and at least 4 other items, he or she shall be classified as having DM, sensitivity 94.1%. When a patient satisfies at least 4 items other than skin lesion items, he or she shall be classified as having PM, sensitivity 98.9%. Specificity of DM and PM is 95.2%.

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