Aim: It is important to objectively measure the severity of atopic dermatitis (AD). This study aims to investigate correlations among various clinical severity scores and determine how a severity score based on symptoms alone performs.
Methods: A Chinese-translated symptom score based on Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM, a short-term subjective-symptom score), Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD, a short-term subjective-symptom and objective-sign score), Nottingham Eczema Severity Score (NESS, a long-term subjective symptoms + objective signs), Children Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI, a short-term subjective-symptom score), skin hydration (SH) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) were compared and Spearman's rho correlations was evaluated.
Results: 126 sets of clinical scores from eczema patients (mean age: 11.4 ± 5.6 years; 34.7% male) were evaluated. The modified-POEM, objective SCORAD, NESS and CDLQI correlated well with each other. All round, best correlations were obtained with POEM: Objective SCORAD (rho = 0.7, p < 0.001), NESS (rho = 0.69, p < 0.001), SCORAD symptom of itch (rho = 0.75, p < 0.01), SCORAD symptom of sleep loss (rho = 0.64, p < 0.01), CDLQI (rho = 0.77, p < 0.001) and SH (rho= -0.043, p < 0.05). Linear stepwise-backward regression demonstrated that POEM was independently associated with CDLQI parameters of pruritus (B: 2.16; p = 0.018), activities (B: 1.80; p = 0.009), sleep disturbance (B: 2.78; p < 0.001) and NESS parameter of sleep disturbance (B: 1.02; p = 0.003).
Conclusion: Clinical scores for acute, chronic, subjective symptoms and objective signs correlated well with each other. The symptom measures by modified POEM is easy to perform by parents or patients and correlated better with most other clinical scores, making it an all-round ideal symptom-based severity score for research.
Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; CDLQI; NESS; POEM; SCORAD; quality of life.