Improving interpretability of individual Diabetes Symptom Checklist-Revised (DSC-R) scores: the role of patient characteristics

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INTRODUCTION: The Diabetes Symptom Checklist-Revised (DSC-R) is a well-validated patient-reported outcome designed to assess symptom burden in persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) across eight domains. The DSC-R has so far primarily been used in research settings. With the aim to make the DSC-R applicable in clinical practice by improving its interpretability, we sought to identify patient characteristics associated with DSC-R (domain) scores as a first initiative toward reference values.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We used baseline data from two large observational studies to select patient characteristics significantly associated with DSC-R domain and total scores. Multivariable Tobit analyses with the backward procedure per (domain) score were performed.

RESULTS: Data from 1531 participants with T2DM were included. On a 0-100 scale, the median DSC-R total score was 15.88 (7.06-29.41), with domain scores ranging from 5.00 (0.00-22.50) (pain) to 35.00 (10.00-60.00) (fatigue). Low well-being status was most profoundly associated with higher scores across all domains. Persons with one or more complication, as well as one or more symptomatic hypoglycemic episode during the past 3 months, scored higher on (almost) all domains and the total scale.

CONCLUSIONS: Complications, symptomatic hypoglycemia, and low well-being are important characteristics to take into account when using the DSC-R in individual patients. Further validation of our findings is warranted in diverse patient populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001146
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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