2012 Provisional classification criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica: A European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology collaborative initiative

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  • This article is published simultaneously in the April 2012 issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to develop European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Candidate criteria were evaluated in a 6-month prospective cohort study of 125 patients with new-onset PMR and 169 non-PMR comparison subjects with conditions mimicking PMR. A scoring algorithm was developed based on morning stiffness >45 minutes (2 points), hip pain/limited range of motion (1 point), absence of rheumatoid factor and/or anti–citrullinated protein antibody (2 points), and absence of peripheral joint pain (1 point). A score ≥4 had 68% sensitivity and 78% specificity for discriminating all comparison subjects from PMR. The specificity was higher (88%) for discriminating shoulder conditions from PMR and lower (65%) for discriminating RA from PMR. Adding ultrasound, a score ≥5 had increased sensitivity to 66% and specificity to 81%. According to these provisional classification criteria, patients ≥50 years old presenting with bilateral shoulder pain, not better explained by an alternative pathology, can be classified as having PMR in the presence of morning stiffness >45 minutes, elevated C-reactive protein and/or erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and new hip pain. These criteria are not meant for diagnostic purposes.

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