Improving fatigue assessment in immune-mediated neuropathies: The modified Rasch-built fatigue severity scale
Abstract Fatigue is a major disabling complaint in patients with immune-mediated neuropathies (IN). The 9-item fatigue severity scale (FSS) has been used to assess fatigue in these conditions, despite having limitations due to its classic ordinal construct. The aim was to improve fatigue assessment in IN through evaluation of the FSS using a modern clinimetric approach [Rasch unidimensional measurement model (RUMM2020)]. Included were 192 stable patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) or polyneuropathy associated with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUSP). The obtained FSS data were exposed to RUMM2020 model to investigate whether this scale would meet its expectations. Also, reliability and validity studies were performed. The original FSS did not meet the Rasch model expectations, primarily based on two misfitting items, one of these also showing bias towards the factor 'walking independent.' After removing these two items and collapsing the original 7-point Likert options to 4-point response categories for the remaining items, we succeeded in constructing a 7-item Rasch-built scale that fulfilled all requirements of unidimensionality, linearity, and rating scale model. Good reliability and validity were also obtained for the modified FSS scale. In conclusion, a 7-item linearly weighted Rasch-built modified FSS is presented for more proper assessment of fatigue in future studies in patients with immune-mediated neuropathies.