Comparison of 3 quantitative measures of hand radiographs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Steinbrocker stage, Kaye modified Sharp score, and Larsen score

J Rheumatol. 1997 Nov;24(11):2106-12.


Objective: To compare 3 quantitative hand radiograph scores, Steinbrocker stage, Larsen score, and Sharp score modified by Kaye, to one another and to other measures of clinical status in a cross sectional analysis of hand radiographs of 173 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Radiographs were scored and compared to other measures of clinical status according to correlation and cross tabulation analyses.

Results: In these cross sectional studies, radiographic scores according to all 3 methods were correlated at high levels (r(s) > 0.5) with one another and duration of disease, as well as with scores for physical joint deformity and limited motion; at lower levels (0.3 < r(s) < 0.5) with physical joint swelling scores, functional status, and age; and at low levels of marginal or no clinical importance (r(s) < 0.3) with physical joint tenderness scores, laboratory data, and pain scores.

Conclusion: The 3 scoring methods give similar quantitative information concerning hand radiographs of patients with RA. The Larsen and modified Sharp scores are preferred measures, as the detailed information facilitates comparison of different patients and monitoring of individual patients over time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging*
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hand / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Radiography
  • Rheumatoid Factor / blood
  • Severity of Illness Index*


  • Rheumatoid Factor