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More MS news articles for April 2003

Can the Expanded Disability Status Scale be assessed by telephone?

Mult Scler 2003 Mar;9(2):154-9
Lechner-Scott J, Kappos L, Hofman M, Polman CH, Ronner H, Montalban X, Tintore M, Frontoni M, Buttinelli C, Amato MP, Bartolozzi ML, Versavel M, Dahlke F, Kapp JF, Gibberd R.
Department of Neurology, Kantonspital Basel, Switzerland.

Information from patients who are unable to continue their visits to a study centre may be of major importance for the interpretation of results in multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical trials.

To validate a questionnaire based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), patients in five different European centres were assessed independently by pairs of trained EDSS raters, first by telephone interview and a few days later by standardized neurological examination.

Seventy women and 40 men with an average age of 43.7 years (range 19-74 years) were included in the study.

Mean EDSS score at the last visit was 4.5 (0-9).

EDSS assessment by telephone was highly correlated with the EDSS determined by physical examination (Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.95).

An intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 94.8% was found for the total sample; 77.6% and 86%, respectively, for patients with EDSS < 4.5 (n = 46) and > 4.5 (n = 64).

Kappa values for full agreement were 0.48; for variation by +0.5 steps and +1.0 steps, 0.79 and 0.90, respectively.

Best agreement could be found in higher EDSS scores, where assessment by telephone interview might be needed most.

The telephone questionnaire is a valid tool to assess EDSS score in cases where the patient is unable to continue visiting a study centre or in long-term follow-up of trial participants.