An assessment of disease flare in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: A comparison of BILAG 2004 and the flare version of SELENA

D. A. Isenberg, E. Allen, V. Farewell, D. D'Cruz, G. S. Alarcón, C. Aranow, I. n. Bruce, M. A. Dooley, P. R. Fortin, E. M. Ginzler, D. D. Gladman, J. G. Hanly, M. Inanc, K. Kalunian, M. Khamashta, J. T. Merrill, O. Nived, M. Petri, R. Ramsey-Goldman, G. SturfeltM. Urowitz, D. J. Wallace, C. Gordon, A. Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Aims: To compare the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) 2004, the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment (SELENA) fl are index (SFI) and physician's global assessment (PGA) in assessing flares of disease activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods: Sixteen patients with active SLE were assessed by a panel of 16 rheumatologists. The order in which the patients were seen was randomised using a 4×4 Latin square design. Each patient's fl are status was determined at each assessment using the BILAG 2004 activity index; the SFI and a PGA. A group of fi ve specialists designated each patient into severe, moderate, mild or no flare categories. Results: The rate of complete agreement (95% CI) of the four individual examining physicians for any flare versus no flare was 81% (55% to 94%), 75% (49% to 90%) and 75% (49% to 90%) for the BILAG 2004 index, SELENA fl are instrument and PGA, respectively. The overall agreement between flare defined by BILAG 2004 and the SFI was 81% and when type of flare was considered was 52%. Intraclass correlation coeffi cients (95% CI), as a measure of internal reliability, were 0.54 (0.32 to 0.78) for BILAG 2004 flare compared with 0.21 (0.08 to 0.48) for SELENA flare and 0.18 (0.06 to 0.45) for PGA. Severe fl are was associated with good agreement between the indices but mild/moderate flare was much less consistent. Conclusions: The assessment of flare in patients with SLE is challenging. No flare and severe flare are identifiable but further work is needed to optimise the accurate 'capture' of mild and moderate flares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the rheumatic diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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