Objective: To develop a concise and statistically robust instrument to assess autonomic symptoms that provides clinically relevant scores of autonomic symptom severity based on the well-established 169-item Autonomic Symptom Profile (ASP) and its validated 84-question scoring instrument, the Composite Autonomic Symptom Score (COMPASS).
Patients and methods: We assessed the internal consistency of COMPASS using Cronbach α coefficients based on the ASP of 405 healthy control subjects recruited and seen in the Mayo Clinic Autonomic Disorders Center between March 1, 1995, and March 31, 2010. Applying a simplified scoring algorithm, we then used exploratory factor analysis with orthogonal rotation and eigenvalue calculations to extract internally consistent domains and to reduce dimensionality. This analysis was followed by expert revisions to eliminate redundant content and to retain clinically important questions and final assessment of the new instrument.
Results: The new simplified scoring algorithm alone resulted in higher Cronbach α values in all domains. Factor analysis revealed 7 domains with a total of 54 questions retained. Expert revisions resulted in further reduction of questions and domains with a remaining total of 31 questions in 6 domains (COMPASS 31). Measures of internal consistency were much improved compared to those for COMPASS. Following appropriate weighting, this instrument provides an autonomic symptom score from 0 to 100.
Conclusion: COMPASS 31 is a refined, internally consistent, and markedly abbreviated quantitative measure of autonomic symptoms. It is based on the original ASP and COMPASS, applies a much simplified scoring algorithm, and is suitable for widespread use in autonomic research and practice.
Copyright © 2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.