Background: Non-motor symptoms (NMS) of Parkinson's disease (PD) affect virtually every patient, yet they are under-recognized and under-treated. The NMS Questionnaire (NMSQuest) is a validated 30-item self-assessment instrument useful for NMS screening in clinic.
Objective: Development of a straight forward grading classification of the burden of non-motor symptoms in PD based on the number of NMS as assessed by the NMS Questionnaire.
Methods: In an observational, cross-sectional, international study of 383 consecutive patients distribution of the declared NMS as per NMSQuest was analyzed according to previously published levels based on the Non-Motor Symptoms Scale and also the median and interquartile range (IR, percentiles 25 and 75) of the total NMSQuest scores. After post hoc checking, these values were proposed as cut-off points for estimating NMS burden based only on the accumulation of symptoms.
Results: Burden and number of NMS correlate closely (r ≥ 0.80). On the basis of this finding, five levels (0 = No NMS to 4 = Very severe) of NMSQuest grading were proposed after identification of their cut-offs by ordinal logistic regression and median and interquartile range distribution. These values coincided almost completely with those obtained by median and interquartile range in an independent sample. Concordance between this classification and HY staging was weak (weighted kappa = 0.30), but was substantial (weighted kappa = 0.68) with the Non-Motor Symptoms Scale grading.
Conclusion: Completion of NMSQuest and subsequent grading of the burden could allow the health care professional to approach the severity of NMS burden using the self completed NMSQuest in a primary care setting.
Keywords: Classification; Grading; NMS Questionnaire; Non-motor symptoms; Parkinson's disease; Prevalence.
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