Objective: To develop a reliable and valid clinical scale measuring the severity of ataxia.
Methods: The authors devised the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) and tested it in two trials of 167 and 119 patients with spinocerebellar ataxia.
Results: The mean time to administer SARA in patients was 14.2 +/- 7.5 minutes (range 5 to 40). Interrater reliability was high, with an intraclass coefficient (ICC) of 0.98. Test-retest reliability was high with an ICC of 0.90. Internal consistency was high as indicated by Cronbach's alpha of 0.94. Factorial analysis revealed that the rating results were determined by a single factor. SARA ratings showed a linear relation to global assessments using a visual analogue scale, suggesting linearity of the scale (p < 0.0001, r(2) = 0.98). SARA score increased with the disease stage (p < 0.001) and was closely correlated with the Barthel Index (r = -0.80, p < 0.001) and part IV (functional assessment) of the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS-IV) (r = -0.89, p < 0.0001), whereas it had only a weak correlation with disease duration (r = 0.34, p < 0.0002).
Conclusions: The Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia is a reliable and valid measure of ataxia, making it an appropriate primary outcome measure for clinical trials.