Neurol Ther. 2023 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s40120-023-00552-y. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. While chronic fatigue is a common manifestation of SMA, the field lacks comprehensive data to assess the extent of its impact. Cure SMA, an SMA patient advocacy organization, conducted an online survey of its adults with SMA community members to measure the impact of fatigue.
METHODS: All survey respondents were asked to complete questions on demographics, use of SMA treatment, and quality of life, but respondents were randomized to receive three of the following fatigue instruments: the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), PedsQL™ Multidimensional Fatigue (PedsQL MF) Scale, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy Health Index (SMA-HI) fatigue modules. Scales were evaluated for reliability and overall fatigue scores were evaluated by multivariate regression models to determine which variables were related to the final scores of each instrument.
RESULTS: A total of 253 adults completed the online survey. When measured against the general population, statistically significant differences were found among adults with SMA for certain variables within each measurement instrument. However, there did not appear to be differences in fatigue levels among key subgroups within the SMA population.
CONCLUSIONS: This was the first use of more than two fatigue questionnaires simultaneously in SMA. The lack of a consistent relationship between SMA severity and fatigue levels was surprising. This may be related to the lack of specificity of the instruments for this population. An SMA-specific scale is needed to evaluate differences in fatigue impact across the SMA population.