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      The shortened disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand questionnaire ( QuickDASH): validity and reliability based on responses within the full-length DASH

      , 1 , 2 , 1 , 3

      BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

      BioMed Central

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          The 30-item disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) questionnaire is increasingly used in clinical research involving upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. From the original DASH a shorter version, the 11-item QuickDASH, has been developed. Little is known about the discriminant ability of score changes for the QuickDASH compared to the DASH. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of the QuickDASH and its cross-sectional and longitudinal validity and reliability.


          The study was based on extracting QuickDASH item responses from the responses to the full-length DASH questionnaire completed by 105 patients with a variety of upper extremity disorders before surgery and at follow-up 6 to 21 months after surgery. The DASH and QuickDASH scores were compared for the whole population and for different diagnostic groups. For longitudinal construct validity the effect size and standardized response mean were calculated. Analyses with ROC curves were performed to compare the ability of the DASH and QuickDASH to discriminate among patients classified according to the magnitude of self-rated improvement. Cross-sectional and test-retest reliability was assessed.


          The mean DASH score was 34 (SD 22) and the mean QuickDASH score was 39 (SD 24) at baseline. For the different diagnostic groups the mean and median QuickDASH scores were higher than the corresponding DASH scores. For the whole population, the mean difference between the QuickDASH and DASH baseline scores was 4.2 (95% CI 3.2–5.3), follow-up scores was 2.6 (1.7–3.4), and change scores was 1.7 (0.6–2.8).

          The overall effect size and standardized response mean measured with the DASH and the QuickDASH were similar. In the ROC analysis of change scores among patients who rated their arm status as somewhat or much better and those who rated it as unchanged the difference in the area under the ROC curve for the DASH and QuickDASH was 0.01 (95% CI -0.05–0.07) indicating similar discriminant ability.

          Cross-sectional and test-retest reliability of the DASH and QuickDASH were similar.


          The results indicate that the QuickDASH can be used instead of the DASH with similar precision in upper extremity disorders.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) plots: a fundamental evaluation tool in clinical medicine.

          The clinical performance of a laboratory test can be described in terms of diagnostic accuracy, or the ability to correctly classify subjects into clinically relevant subgroups. Diagnostic accuracy refers to the quality of the information provided by the classification device and should be distinguished from the usefulness, or actual practical value, of the information. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) plots provide a pure index of accuracy by demonstrating the limits of a test's ability to discriminate between alternative states of health over the complete spectrum of operating conditions. Furthermore, ROC plots occupy a central or unifying position in the process of assessing and using diagnostic tools. Once the plot is generated, a user can readily go on to many other activities such as performing quantitative ROC analysis and comparisons of tests, using likelihood ratio to revise the probability of disease in individual subjects, selecting decision thresholds, using logistic-regression analysis, using discriminant-function analysis, or incorporating the tool into a clinical strategy by using decision analysis.
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            Development of an upper extremity outcome measure: the DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand) [corrected]. The Upper Extremity Collaborative Group (UECG)

            This paper describes the development of an evaluative outcome measure for patients with upper extremity musculoskeletal conditions. The goal is to produce a brief, self-administered measure of symptoms and functional status, with a focus on physical function, to be used by clinicians in daily practice and as a research tool. This is a joint initiative of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (COMSS), and the Institute for Work and Health (Toronto, Ontario). Our approach is consistent with previously described strategies for scale development. In Stage 1, Item Generation, a group of methodologists and clinical experts reviewed 13 outcome measurement scales currently in use and generated a list of 821 items. In Stage 2a, Initial Item Reduction, these 821 items were reduced to 78 items using various strategies including removal of items which were generic, repetitive, not reflective of disability, or not relevant to the upper extremity or to one of the targeted concepts of symptoms and functional status. Items not highly endorsed in a survey of content experts were also eliminated. Stage 2b, Further Item Reduction, will be based on results of field testing in which patients complete the 78-item questionnaire. This field testing, which is currently underway in 20 centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia, will generate the final format and content of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire. Future work includes plans for validity and reliability testing.
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              Development of the QuickDASH: comparison of three item-reduction approaches.

              The purpose of this study was to develop a short, reliable, and valid measure of physical function and symptoms related to upper-limb musculoskeletal disorders by shortening the full, thirty-item DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) Outcome Measure. Three item-reduction techniques were used on the cross-sectional field-testing data derived from a study of 407 patients with various upper-limb conditions. These techniques were the concept-retention method, the equidiscriminative item-total correlation, and the item response theory (Rasch modeling). Three eleven-item scales were created. Data from a longitudinal cohort study in which the DASH questionnaire was administered to 200 patients with shoulder and wrist/hand disorders were then used to assess the reliability (Cronbach alpha and test-retest reliability) and validity (cross-sectional and longitudinal construct) of the three scales. Results were compared with those derived with the full DASH. The three versions were comparable with regard to their measurement properties. All had a Cronbach alpha of > or = 0.92 and an intraclass correlation coefficient of > or = 0.94. Evidence of construct validity was established (r > or = 0.64 with single-item indices of pain and function). The concept-retention method, the most subjective of the approaches to item reduction, ranked highest in terms of its similarity to the original DASH. The concept-retention version is named the QuickDASH. It contains eleven items and is similar with regard to scores and properties to the full DASH. A comparison of item-reduction approaches suggested that the retention of clinically sensible and important content produced a comparable, if not slightly better, instrument than did more statistically driven approaches.

                Author and article information

                BMC Musculoskelet Disord
                BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
                BioMed Central (London )
                18 May 2006
                : 7
                : 44
                [1 ]National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
                [2 ]Department of Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, Lund University, Lund, SE 22185, Sweden
                [3 ]Department of Orthopedics Hässleholm-Kristianstad, Hässleholm Hospital, Hässleholm SE 28125, Sweden
                Copyright © 2006 Gummesson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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