The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-health index (ALS-HI): development and evaluation of a novel outcome measure

Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2023 May 15;1-9. doi: 10.1080/21678421.2023.2204871. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The identification of effective therapeutics for ALS necessitates valid and responsive outcome measures to track disease progression and therapeutic gain in clinical trial settings. The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Health Index (ALS-HI) is a multifaceted, disease-specific patient-reported outcome measure (PRO) designed to measure ALS symptomatic disease burden in adults with ALS. Methods: Through a national cross-sectional study of individuals with ALS, we identified the most important symptoms in ALS. These symptoms were incorporated into the ALS-HI, a measure that quantifies the multifaceted disease burden in ALS. We performed factor analysis, qualitative patient interviews, test-retest reliability assessment, and known groups analysis to evaluate and validate the ALS-HI. Results: The cross-sectional study included 497 participants with ALS who identified the most important symptoms to include in the ALS-HI. Fifteen participants beta tested the ALS-HI and found it to be clear, easy to use, and relevant. Twenty-one participants engaged in a test-retest reliability study, which indicated the reliability of the instrument (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.952 for full instrument). The final ALS-HI and its subscales demonstrated a high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.981 for full instrument) and an ability to differentiate between groups with dissimilar disease severity. Conclusions: This research supports use of the ALS-HI as a valid, sensitive, reliable, and relevant PRO to assess the multifactorial disease burden faced by adults with ALS. The ALS-HI has potential as a mechanism to track disease progression and treatment efficacy during therapeutic trials.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; disease burden; patient-reported outcome measure; symptom assessment; therapeutic trial.