, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 3413-3419
Date: 06 Nov 2011

Assessment of hand functions in rheumatoid arthritis using SF-SACRAH (short form score for the assessment and quantification of chronic rheumatoid affections of the hands) and its correlation to disease activity

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Rheumatoid arthritis activity is generally evaluated by using DAS-28 score. But this does not reflect the extent of functional hand impairment, a decisive parameter for patient wellbeing as well as for work disability. Several questionnaires to quantify the hand involvement in RA have been elaborated, amongst which SACRAH has been popular since 2003. But this requires evaluating 23 questions on a visual analogue scale. The questions were reduced to 12 in modified-SACRAH (M-SACRAH) and to only five questions in short form SACRAH (SF-SACRAH) so as to make it easily applicable in daily clinical practice. A study was planned to compare M-SACRAH (already validated) to SF-SACRAH in Indian population as no Indian data are available on the same. A total of 100 patients of RA were evaluated for disease activity using DAS-28 score and hand functions using M-SACRAH and SF-SACRAH. The M-SACRAH and SF-SACRAH were then compared based on DAS-28 scores; also M-SACRAH was compared to SF-SACRAH using Spearman’s correlation coefficient. The mean value of DAS-28 score was 3.15 ± 0.86. The mean value of SF-SACRAH was 8.065 ± 7.44, and mean value of M-SACRAH was 201.7 ± 201.1008. The correlation of DAS-28 score to SF-SACRAH and M-SACRAH was significant in moderate and high disease activity but insignificant in remission and low disease activity state. The correlation between M-SACRAH and SF-SACRAH showed a spearman’s coefficient of 0.998 with a P value of <0.001 (significant correlation). Correlation was significant for all disease activity states and for remission. The study suggests that the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis (as assessed by DAS-28 score) has a poor correlation with hand functions (as assessed by M-SACRAH and SF-SACRAH) especially in low disease activity and remission states. Further, M-SACRAH and SF-SACRAH are significantly correlated. Therefore, it is suggested that RA patients should be assessed by SF-SACRAH (which includes five questions only) in addition to DAS-28 scoring for better evaluation of hand functions, a detrimental factor in day to day performance of RA patients.