Objective: To describe the distribution and severity of muscle weakness using manual muscle testing (MMT) in 172 patients with PM, DM and juvenile DM (JDM). The secondary objectives included characterizing individual muscle group weakness and determining associations of weakness with functional status and myositis characteristics in this large cohort of patients with myositis.
Methods: Strength was assessed for 13 muscle groups using the 10-point MMT and expressed as a total score, subscores based on functional and anatomical regions, and grades for individual muscle groups. Patient characteristics and secondary outcomes, such as clinical course, muscle enzymes, corticosteroid dosage and functional status were evaluated for association with strength using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: A gradient of proximal weakness was seen, with PM weakest, DM intermediate and JDM strongest among the three myositis clinical groups (P < or = 0.05). Hip flexors, hip extensors, hip abductors, neck flexors and shoulder abductors were the muscle groups with the greatest weakness among all three clinical groups. Muscle groups were affected symmetrically.
Conclusions: Axial and proximal muscle impairment was reflected in the five weakest muscles shared by our cohort of myositis patients. However, differences in the pattern of weakness were observed among all three clinical groups. Our findings suggest a greater severity of proximal weakness in PM in comparison with DM.