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Background

The My PD Journey coalition, on behalf of the EPDA, has developed the Parkinson’s Disease Composite Scale (PDCS) – a simple new scale to be used primarily by neurologists and other healthcare professionals familiar with Parkinson’s that measures the severity of symptoms experienced by people with Parkinson’s in a timely way.

Existing scales used by neurologists currently explore different aspects of the condition, but do not offer a comprehensive view of a person’s condition. The development of the new Composite Scale was therefore urgently needed as it combines motor symptoms, non-motor symptoms and treatment-related complications; it is also simple and relatively fast to use. Designed to complement existing scales, the Composite Scale is the first to offer a holistic view of Parkinson’s.

Using the scale

The rater-based, 17-item scale assesses the severity of the most frequent and burdensome manifestations of PD.

It is grouped into four dimensions:

  • motor signs
  • non-motor symptoms
  • therapy complications
  • disability.

Motor signs are examined at the time of evaluation, while the other three categories are evaluated using their severity over the past two weeks.

Throughout the scale, each item is anchored by five severity levels: absent, mild, moderate, severe, and very severe. While a score of 0 is considered the absence of the specific disorder, some items range from 0 to 4 and others from 0 to 7 to account for the different levels of impact each symptom has on the patient. A total score can be calculated for each domain by summing its component parts, and a total score for the PDCS can be calculated by summing the domain scores.

Benefits of using the scale

  • Conducted in roughly 15-20 minutes making a consultation between the person with Parkinson’s and their neurologist much faster than is usually the case, therefore freeing up time within the consultation to discuss other things important to the individual.
  • It grades the the relative importance of particular symptoms, taking into account people with Parkinson’s perspectives, which are important in the delivery of timely and effective treatment and care.
  • The composite scale will not be a substitute for the other rating scales that remain fundamental to precisely assess different aspects of the disease. Overall, it is an easy but complete tool that gives an immediate and holistic description of the patient so that authorities can use it to evaluate the real needs of the patients.

Download the Parkinson’s Disease Composite Scale

  • Results of the first validation study on the PDCS in the European Journal of Neurology (available ahead of print) | January 2018
  • Results of the second validation study (TBC).

Contact the authors of the Parkinson’s Disease Composite Scale

Fabrizio Stocchi, MD PhDa
Fabiana G. Radicati, PhDa
K Ray Chaudhuri, DSc FRCP MDb
Anders Johansson, MD PhDc
Chandrasekhara Padmakumar, MDd
Cristian Falup-Pecurariu, Mde
Pablo Martinez Martin, MD, PhDf

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