A new assessment tool, called the lupus impact tracker or LIT, is valid and can be used by doctors in the clinic to track symptoms in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and better discuss the disease with patients, researchers report.
The study evaluating the tool, “Prospective Validation of the Lupus Impact Tracker: A Patient-Completed Tool for Clinical Practice to Evaluate the Impact of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,” published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, was developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, QualityMetric of Rhode Island, and GlaxoSmithKline R&D.
Establishing a way to assess and identify SLE has been a major challenge for both researchers and healthcare providers, since the disease has many symptoms that can be highly variable depending on the individual. Joints, skin, mucous membranes, bone marrow and kidney problems are typically easily identified, but neurological symptoms are harder. It is also difficult to predict the course of the disease, which can flare and reside.
Investigators, led by Meenakshe Jolly, MD, of Rush University, asked 325 patients to fill out the LIT worksheet (a 10-item sheet to aid in physician-patient communications), as well as the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (version 2), Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), LupusQoL, and patient LIT feedback questionnaire. The physicians treating these patients filled out the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment (SELENA) version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index, and the physician LIT feedback questionnaire. All of these assessment methods were used to see if the LIT was valid.
Overall, the investigators found that the LIT was highly valid when compared to the assessment tools, and responsive to changes in a patient’s health.
“The results of this study, in addition to the initial validation analysis, confirm that the LIT is a reliable, valid, and responsive instrument. Factor analysis confirmed that one factor is sufficient to represent the 10 LIT items, which supports the scoring of LIT in a single scale,” Jolly said in a press release.
The study noted that Jolly has received consulting fees from GlaxoSmithKline of less than $10,000, and holds intellectual property right on the lupus impact tracker and the lupus patient-reported outcomes tool.