Comparison of the systemic lupus erythematosus activity questionnaire and the systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index in a black barbadian population.


In Barbados, use of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) is limited by the unavailability of serologic markers. The SLE Activity Questionnaire (SLAQ) excludes laboratory measurements and is therefore more accessible. Here, we investigate the agreement between the SLAQ, the SLEDAI, and the physician global assessment (PGA). A pilot of 32 participants completed the SLAQ and SLEDAI. The tools were compared (1) in their original format, (2) limited to common indices, and (3) limited to the same patient recall period. We compared the proportions of persons reporting disease activity and the concordance between calculated activity scores for SLAQ versus SLEDAI and for SLAQ versus PGA. Seventy-eight percent versus 59% of participants reported disease activity with the original SLEDAI versus SLAQ, respectively. The relationship was reversed to 22% versus 59% when the matched item tools were compared. Concordance was 0.62 (95% CI 0.42-0.81) between the original scores, 0.70 (0.57-0.83) when restricted by matched items, and 0.72 (0.59-0.84) when further restricted by recall period. Concordance between the SLAQ and PGA was 0.56 (0.32-0.80). Reversal of the disease activity percentage in the matched items comparison highlights the inadequacy of tools that exclude laboratory measurements and suggests that the subjective nature of SLAQ may contribute to over-reporting. Further work is needed to produce a robust disease activity tool apt for resource-constrained environments.

International journal of rheumatology