Objective: To determine whether patients' perception of their functional ability, as measured by the disabilities of arm, shoulder. and hand (DASH) questionnaire, correlates with clinical measures of articular status in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Methods: Patients attending the University of Toronto Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic between June and August 1997 were asked to complete a DASH questionnaire during their visits. Clinical assessments were performed according to a standard protocol including number of actively inflamed joints, total number of damaged joints, and grip strength. Spearman rank correlations were used to examine the relationship between clinical measures and the DASH questionnaire.
Results: Fifty consecutive patients, 28 men and 22 women, (mean age 49.2 yrs, mean disease duration 13 yrs) were included. DASH scores correlated with clinical measures of upper extremity function including right grip strength (r = -0.47, CI -0.67, -0.21) and number of active joints in the upper limbs (r = 0.65, CI 0.46, 0.79). As expected, the correlation between DASH scores and total number of active joints (r = 0.40, CI 0.14, 0.61) was lower than that between DASH scores and number of active joints in the upper limbs. The DASH was unrelated to clinical damage.
Conclusion: DASH is a valid instrument for assessing upper extremity function and inflammatory disease activity in patients with PsA.