Acta Neurol Scand 2002 Mar;105(3):164-8
Patzold T, Schwengelbeck M, Ossege LM, Malin JP, Sindern E.
Department of Neurology, BG-Kliniken Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University Bochum, FRG.
The Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) comprises quantitative functional measures of leg, hand/arm and cognitive function. We examined the responsiveness of the MSFC compared with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) during treatment of relapses in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Patients and methods
27 patients received 1000 mg intravenous methylprednisolone (i.v.-MP) for 5 days, followed by oral methylprednisolone for 14 days. The MSFC and the EDSS-score were assessed on day 0, before the first corticosteroid treatment, on day 5, after the last course of i.v. MP, and on day 20 after the treatment was finished. Before the first administration of the MSFC, patients were trained for the paced auditory addition test (PASAT) performing three test trials. In order to analyse practice effects, 10 MS patients without an acute exacerbation were tested three times under the same conditions as the treated group.
The median EDSS-score was 2.5 in both groups. On day 5 it remained unchanged in all treated patients, on day 20 a decrease of 0.5 EDSS point occurred in five patients, and in two patients an improvement with a decrease of more than 0.5 point was observed. There was no statistically significant difference between the EDSS-scores on day 0, 5 and 20. The mean MSFC-score in the treated group was --0.14 plus minus 0.63 on day 0, 0.17 plus minus 0.66 on day 5, and 0.42 plus minus 0.59 on day 20. On the last study day, 26 patients improved compared with day 0. The differences between the MSFC-scores at the three points of time were statistically significant for the treated group (P < 0.001), but not for the control group.
During and after treatment of relapses in patients with MS, the MSFC appears to be more sensitive in detecting changes in function than the EDSS.