Exploring the relationship between North Star Ambulatory Assessment and Health Utilities Index scores in Duchenne muscular dystrophy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background The North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) documents motor performance in ambulatory individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Health Utilities Index (HUI) scores, reflecting preferences for health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) implications of health states, are commonly estimated within trials. This study sought to characterize the relationship between the NSAA score and utility in DMD. Methods Family members serving as proxy respondents for placebo-treated ambulatory individuals with DMD (NCT01254019; BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc) completed the HUI and the NSAA (score range, 0–34). Mean change over time on these measures was estimated, and the correlation between changes in NSAA score and a) HUI utility; b) HUI3 ambulation and HUI2 mobility attribute scores, over 48 weeks was calculated. Results Baseline mean (range) age was 8.0 years (5–16; n = 61) and mean (standard deviation [SD]) scores were 0.87 (0.13; HUI2), 0.82 (0.19; HUI3), and 21.0 (8.1; NSAA). Mean (SD) change over 48 weeks was –0.05 (0.14; HUI2), –0.06 (0.19; HUI3), and –2.9 (4.7; NSAA). Weak positive correlations were observed between baseline NSAA score and HUI utility (HUI2: r = 0.29; HUI3: r = 0.17) and for change over 48 weeks (HUI2: r = 0.16; HUI3: r = 0.15). Stronger correlations were observed between change in NSAA score and the HUI3 ambulation (r = 0.41) and HUI2 mobility (r = 0.41) attributes. Conclusions Among ambulatory individuals with DMD, NSAA score is weakly correlated with HUI utility, suggesting that motor performance alone does not fully explain HRQoL. Stronger relationships were observed between HUI ambulation and mobility attributes, and NSAA. Although unidimensional measures like the NSAA are informative for documenting disease-specific health impacts, they may not correlate well with measures of overall health status; requiring use in conjunction with other patient-reported and preference-based outcomes.


  • Audhya, Ivana
  • Rogula, Basia
  • Szabo, Shelagh M
  • Feeny, David
  • Bolatova, Talshyn
  • Gooch, Katherine

publication date

  • July 19, 2023