Predictive value of European Scleroderma Group Activity Index in an early scleroderma cohort
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OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of disease activity, as measured by the European Scleroderma Research Group Activity Index (EScSG-AI), on the risk of subsequent organ damage in a large systemic sclerosis (SSc) cohort. METHODS: Of 421 SSc patients from the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group database with disease duration of ⩽ 3 years, 197 who had no evidence of end-stage organ damage initially and available 3 year follow-up were included. Disease activity was assessed by the EScSG-AI with two variability measures: the adjusted mean EScSG-AI (the area under the curve of the EScSG-AI over the observation period) and persistently active disease/flare. Outcomes were based on the Medsger severity scale and included accrual of a new severity score (Δ ⩾ 1) overall and within organ systems or reaching a significant level of deterioration in health status. RESULTS: After adjustment for covariates, the adjusted mean EScSG-AI was the most consistent predictor of risk across the study outcomes over 3 years in dcSSc: disease progression defined as Δ ⩾ 1 in any major internal organ, significant decline in forced vital capacity and diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide, severity of visceral disease and HAQ Disability Index worsening. In multivariate analysis, progression of lung disease was predicted solely by adjusted mean EScSG-AI, while the severity of lung disease was predicted the adjusted mean EScSG-AI, older age, modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) and initial severity. The EScSG-AI was associated with patient- and physician-assessed measures of health status and overpowered the mRSS in predicting disease outcomes. CONCLUSION: Disease activity burden quantified with the adjusted mean EScSG-AI predicted the risk of deterioration in health status and severe organ involvement in dcSSc. The EScSG-AI is more responsive when done repeatedly and averaged.
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