Preliminary definition of improvement in juvenile arthritis

Edward H. Giannini, Nicolino Ruperto, Angelo Ravelli, Daniel J. Lovell, David T. Felson, Alberto Martini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To identify a core set of outcome variables for the assessment of children with juvenile arthritis (JA), to use the core set to develop a definition of improvement to determine whether individual patients demonstrate clinically important improvement, and to promote this definition as a single efficacy measure in JA clinical trials. Methods. A core set of outcome variables was established using a combination of statistical and consensus formation techniques. Variables in the core set consisted of 1) physician global assessment of disease activity; 2) parent/patient assessment of overall well-being; 3) functional ability; 4) number of joints with active arthritis; 5) number of joints with limited range of motion; and 6) erythrocyte sedimentation rate. To establish a definition of improvement using this core set, 21 pediatric rheumatologists from 14 countries met, and, using consensus formation techniques, scored each of 72 patient profiles as improved or not improved. Using the physicians' consensus as the gold standard, the chi-square, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated for each of 240 possible definitions of improvement. Definitions with sensitivity or specificity of 30%. The second highest scoring definition was closely related to the first; the third highest was similar to the Paulus criteria used in adult rheumatoid arthritis trials, except with different variables. This indicates convergent validity of the process used. Conclusion. We propose a definition of improvement for JA. Use of a uniform definition will help standardize the conduct and reporting of clinical trials, and should help practitioners decide if a child with JA has responded adequately to therapy. We are in the process of prospectively validating this definition and several others that scored highly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1209
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology


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