The validity of a rheumatoid arthritis medical records-based index of severity compared with the DAS28

Arthritis Res Ther. 2006;8(3):R57. doi: 10.1186/ar1921. Epub 2006 Mar 14.


The objective of this work was to assess the convergent validity of a previously developed rheumatoid arthritis medical records-based index of severity (RARBIS) by comparing it with the 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28). This study was conducted in subjects within the Brigham and Women's Hospital Rheumatoid Arthritis Sequential Study (BRASS). We selected 100 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from the BRASS with DAS28 scores equally distributed in four quartiles. The medical records were reviewed to calculate the RARBIS, which includes indicators from the following categories: prior surgical history, radiologic and laboratory findings, clinical and functional status, and extra-articular manifestations. The Spearman correlation between the RARBIS and the DAS28 was assessed in the total study population and in relevant subgroups. We re-weighted on subscales and recalculated the RARBIS score. This was performed based on findings of correlations between the DAS28 and subscales; and also the result from a multiple linear regression with the DAS28 (as a dependent variable) and five subscales (as independent variables). The mean RARBIS was 4.36 (range 0-11). Among the total study cohort, the RARBIS was moderately correlated with the DAS28 (r = 0.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23-0.56). In subgroup analyses, including age, gender, rheumatoid factor status, and disease duration, we found no statistically significant differences in the correlations. After re-weighting, the correlation between the RARBIS and the DAS28 was somewhat improved (r = 0.48, 95% CI 0.31-0.62). In conclusion, the RARBIS correlated moderately well with the DAS28 in this population. The RARBIS has both face and convergent validity for patients with RA and relevant subgroups and may have application for medical records studies in patients with RA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Radiography
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index