Validated clinical prediction models to identify children with poor prognosis at the time of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) diagnosis would be very helpful for tailoring treatments, and avoiding under- or over-treatment. Our objective was to externally validate Nordic clinical prediction models in Canadian patients with JIA.
We used data from 513 subjects at the 3-year follow-up from the Research in Arthritis in Canadian Children emphasizing Outcomes (ReACCh-Out) cohort. The predicted outcomes were non-achievement of remission, severe disease course, and functional disability. The Nordic models were evaluated exactly as published and after fine-tuning the logistic regression coefficients using multiple data splits of the Canadian cohort. Missing data was handled with multiple imputation, and prediction ability was assessed with C-indices. C-index values > 0.7 were deemed to reflect helpful prediction.
Overall, 81% of evaluable patients did not achieve remission off medications, 15% experienced a severe disease course, and 38% reported disability (CHAQ score > 0). The Nordic model for predicting non-achievement of remission had a C-index of 0.68 (95% CI 0.62–0.74), and 0.74 (0.67–0.80) after fine-tuning. For prediction of severe disease course, it had a C-index of 0.69 (0.61–0.78), and 0.79 (0.68–0.91) after fine-tuning. The fine-tuned Nordic model identified 85% of the cohort as low risk for a severe disease course (< 20% chance) and 7% as high risk (> 60% chance). The Nordic model to predict functional disability had a C-index of 0.57 (0.50–0.63), and 0.51 (0.39–0.63) after fine-tuning.
Fine-tuned Nordic models, combining active joint count, physician global assessment of disease activity, morning stiffness, and ankle involvement, predicted well non-achievement of remission and severe disease course in Canadian patients with JIA. The Nordic model for predicting disability could not predict functional disability in Canadian patients.