Assessment of Inter-rater Reliability of Clinical Hidradenitis Suppurativa Outcome Measures Using Ultrasonography

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Clinical and experimental dermatology


BACKGROUND: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) staging and severity is typically based upon physical examination findings which can result in misclassification of severity based on subclinical disease activity and significant variation between healthcare providers. Ultrasound (US) is an objective tool to help evaluate subclinical disease and more accurately classify severity of disease. The objective of this study was to evaluate inter-rater reliability in HS disease severity assessment using clinical and US techniques.

METHODS: Twenty subjects underwent clinical evaluation of HS using clinical outcome measures including Hurley, Sartorius, HS Physician Global Assessment (HS-PGA), and Hidradenitis Suppurativa Clinical Response (HiSCR) independently by two physicians. US was subsequently performed, and clinical assessments were repeated. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) were obtained to evaluate inter-rater agreement of each outcome measure before and after US.

RESULTS: Pre- to post-US improvement in ICC was seen with the Sartorius, HiSCR nodule and abscess count, and HiSCR draining fistula count. The scores went from having "good" rater agreement for Sartorius and HiSCR nodule and abscess count and "poor" rater agreement for HiSCR draining fistula count to "excellent" rater agreement amongst these scores.

CONCLUSIONS: US improved inter-rater agreement and should be used in conjunction with physical examination findings to evaluate disease severity to ensure uniform staging.

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ePub ahead of print