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How to assess musculoskeletal conditions. Assessment of disease activity

, : How to assess musculoskeletal conditions. Assessment of disease activity. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Rheumatology 17(3): 415-426

The concept of disease activity is useful for characterizing chronic rheumatic diseases and their current degree of severity. Disease activity should be clearly differentiated from damage, which is irreversible. A number of requirements must be met in order to make a measure of disease activity acceptable and valid. Methods for measurement have been developed in the areas of biological, radiographic, ultrasound and computerized imaging techniques. Recently, a particular effort has been made to develop questionnaires in the form of complex indices, derived from the observations of physicians, and self-report questionnaires for patients. Such assessments of disease activity are available for most of the chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. They are particularly relevant at a time when new biological drug therapy is being developed. Research effort is needed to develop more instruments suitable for use in clinical practice for individual patients.


PMID: 12787510

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