WOMAC osteoarthritis index questionnaire form

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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Information from the American College of Rheumatology and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities

An extremely important part of clinical research involves the evaluation of interventions used either singularly or in combination.

In both clinical research and clinical practice environments, reliability, validity, and responsiveness are essential features of health status measurement tools.

To be considered useful, these tools must be easily administered, brief, and simple to score.

Prior to 1981, measurement procedures for quantifying pain, stiffness, and physical disability in hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) in rheumatology were diverse and lacked standardization in content, format, and scaling. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Nicholas Bellamy, in discussions with Professor Watson Buchanan developed the Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index.

The WOMAC index is a 24-item questionnaire completed by the patient and focusing on joint pain, stiffness and loss of function related to osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.

The success of the WOMAC index is in large part related to 6 factors: (1) Extensive patient involvement in the development of the item inventory. This is perhaps the most important since it is an approach that reduces the potential influence of paternalism, and anchors the item content into aspects of the

disease experience that are relevant to patients, and to which they can therefore relate. (2) The conduct of numerous studies evaluating different clinimetric properties of the Index, including analyses evaluating validity, reliability, and responsiveness, blind versus informed presentation, tracking signal items versus complete index usage, parametric versus non-parametric analyses and time frame variations. (3) The development and linguistic validation of numerous alternative-language forms of WOMAC VA3.1 and WOMAC LK3.1 using a standard operating procedure based on tandem forward and backward translation processes and subsequent linguistic validation. (4) Continued research and development into content and administration issues including the application of WOMAC in telephone interviews as well as mouse driven cursor and touch screen electronic data capture formats. (5) The incorporation of WOMAC into Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) clinical trials guidelines as an index relevant to outcome measurement in OA; and (6) the provision of the WOMAC Index, in the required scaling format, alternative-language form, and administration format for academic, commercial, and clinical applications, and ongoing user support.

The WOMAC is used extensively in clinical trials evaluating new drugs for the treatment of osteoarthritis. It provides an excellent look at a patient’s functional capacity and complements the more objective data provided by magnetic resonance imaging, arthroscopy, cartilage biopsy, and radiographs.

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