Background and aims We compared patients’ assessments of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) disease activity by a Swedish version of the Systemic Lupus Activity Questionnaire (SLAQ) questionnaire with physicians’ assessments by Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM) and SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Additionally, we explored the performance of the SLAQ in patients with short (<1 year) versus long (≥1 year) disease duration.
Methods Patients filled out SLAQ prior to physicians’ assessments. Correlations between SLAQ-total, sub-scales (Symptom score, Flares, Patients global) and SLAM and SLEDAI as well as between the corresponding items in SLAQ and SLAM were evaluated using Spearman’s ρ. Comparisons between patients with different disease durations were performed with Mann–Whitney U or Chi-square tests.
Results We included 203 patients (79% women, median age 45 (IQR 33–57) years, disease duration 5 (IQR 0–14) years) (Table 1). Correlations between physicians’ SLAM, without laboratory items (SLAM-nolab), and patients’ assessments were: SLAQ total, ρ=0.685, Symptom score, ρ=0.651, Flares, ρ=0.547 and Patients global, ρ=0.600. Of symptom items fatigue (ρ=0.640), seizures (ρ=0.635) and headache (ρ=0.604) correlated best. Neurology/stroke syndrome, skin and lymphadenopathy correlated less well (ρ <0.24). Patients’ and physicians’ assessments were notably more discordant for patients with short disease durations.
Conclusions We confirm that the SLAQ can be used to monitor disease activity. However, the discrepancy between patients’ and physicians’ assessments was greater for patients with short versus long disease duration. We encourage further use of the SLAQ, but would like to develop a shorter version which would be valuable in modern, partly web-based, clinical care.
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