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Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1997 Sep;65(3):328-36.

Progress of impairment scores following commencement of chemotherapy in multibacillary leprosy patients.

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Physiotherapist, Green Pastures Hospital, Pokhara, Nepal.



To investigate the progress of impairment over time in multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients.


Retrospective cohort study.


One-thousand-eighty-two MB patients newly registered in nine field clinics in the Western Region of Nepal between 1980 and 1993.


Data on impairment at diagnosis and at yearly intervals afterward were collected from patient records of MB patients already released from multidrug therapy (MDT). The World Health Organization (WHO) 1988 "disability" grading scale (0-2, for both eyes, hands and feet--six sites) was used as a measure of impairment. For the analysis we summed the WHO grading for the six sites into an eyes-hands-feet (EHF) sum score (minimum 0, maximum 12). The EHF score at 2 years of follow up was used to compute the main outcome measures: impairment at 2 years, yes or no, and deterioration of impairment compared with diagnosis. The combined effect of age, sex, classification and impairment status at diagnosis on the outcome was examined with logistic regression.


At diagnosis, 55.8% of the patients had some impairment. This proportion decreased over 2 years to 43.9%. Among patients without initial impairment, 31/310 (10%) developed impairment during the study period. This was 81/396 (20.5%) among patients with impairment at diagnosis. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for developing impairment was 1.87 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-3.32] for patients with initial sensory impairment (WHO grade 1). and 1.98 (95% CI 1.15-3.4) for those with initial visible deformity (WHO grade 2). Among patients with impairment at diagnosis, 195/396 (49.2%) had improved after 2 years.


The proportion of patients with impairment after 2 years of antileprosy treatment was 12% less than at diagnosis. Among patients without initial impairment, 10% had developed some impairment after 2 years. The risk of developing impairment was almost double for those with sensory impairment or visible deformity at diagnosis. For purposes of monitoring, evaluation and planning, both the proportion of patients with sensory impairment (WHO grade 1) and the proportion with visible deformity (WHO grade 2) should be reported at diagnosis and at release from treatment.

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