Abstract

Introduction

Sensory neuronopathies (SN) result from dorsal root ganglia damage and manifest with a combination of sensory deficits and proprioceptive ataxia. Characterization of the natural history and development of therapeutic trials are hampered by the lack of clinical scales that capture the whole spectrum of SN‐related manifestations. We propose and validate a rating instrument for SN.

Methods

Three experienced neuromuscular specialists developed items to rate SN. The resultant instrument was later validated by the assessment of the intra‐class correlation coefficient, for inter‐rater validity in 48 SN patients, and later in a smaller subset of 16 patients to assess its intra‐rater validity. Standardized Crombach’s alpha and Oblimin rotation analysis were performed to verify internal consistency and items’ relationship, respectively. Evaluation of SEARS’s external validity was performed by comparison to: scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA), Beck balance scale (BBS) and INCAT sensory sum score (ISS).

Results

A 10‐item scale with an intra‐class correlation coefficient >.95 for intra‐ and inter‐rating measurements with a good internal consistency (standardized Cronbach’s alpha of 0.83) were observed. There was a normal distribution of the scores without a floor or ceiling effect. A moderate to good correlation between SEARS and SARA, BBS and ISS was observed.

Conclusions

SEARS is a reliable, easy‐to‐perform and consistent instrument to rate SN. Larger cohorts and multicenter studies are needed to validate its usefulness towards possible treatment trials.

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