Improving our understanding of childhood psoriasis: Identifying opportunities for early intervention for the prevention of long-term harm

Burden-Teh, Esther (2020) Improving our understanding of childhood psoriasis: Identifying opportunities for early intervention for the prevention of long-term harm. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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1.1 Introduction

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disease affecting the skin and joints of adults and children. This PhD focused on psoriasis in children because it is especially for this age group that both a research need and an opportunity to improve long-term health outcomes exist. There is a deficiency of paediatric specific research to guide optimal management and, for many individuals, the persistence of psoriasis into adulthood has a negative cumulative effect over their lifetime. Difficulties can arise because of the physical, psychological, and social burden of psoriasis, including the development of psoriatic arthritis.

1.2 Research aim

The aim of this research was to identify opportunities to intervene early in the disease course of children with psoriasis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis, in order to prevent long-term harm from these conditions.

Specifically the research aims of each study were:

1. To determine current clinical practice in the assessment and management of childhood psoriasis.

2. To understand current clinical practice in the assessment of juvenile psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

3. To map the evidence and identify research gaps in the epidemiology of childhood psoriasis.

4. To identify studies which have developed or validated diagnostic criteria for psoriasis.

5. To derive expert agreed diagnostic criteria for plaque psoriasis in children.

6. To design a diagnostic accuracy study to develop DIagnostic criteria for PSOriasis in Children (DIPSOC Study)

1.3 Methods

The initial studies focused on identifying deficiencies in current practice and exploring barriers in the detection of psoriasis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis. This research was undertaken as a multi-centre audit and case-note review, and qualitative descriptive interviews with paediatric rheumatologists and dermatologists. Framework and thematic content analysis were used to ascertain and explore the approach clinicians’ take to assess skin and joint disease. The subsequent studies have mapped the volume, nature, and characteristics of epidemiological studies and appraised the literature to inform the development of diagnostic criteria for psoriasis in children. This research was undertaken as a scoping review on the epidemiology of childhood psoriasis and a systematic review on diagnostic criteria for psoriasis. The studies in the systematic review were appraised for risk of bias using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 (QUADAS-2) tool. The final studies focused on developing diagnostic criteria for psoriasis in children. An electronic Delphi (eDelphi) consensus study with the International Psoriasis Council (IPC) used sequential online questionnaires and scoring to reach agreement on a list of expert-derived criteria. These five studies informed the design of a multi-centre case-control diagnostic accuracy study (DIPSOC study) to test the consensus agreed criteria and develop the best predictive criteria.

1.4 Results

The audit of the care of 285 children with psoriasis showed that compliance with national guidelines was variable. Only half of children were assessed annually for juvenile psoriatic arthritis and a third of children with psoriasis were potentially misdiagnosed with having other skin diseases in primary care. Exploring this further, paediatric rheumatologists’ and dermatologists’ current approach for assessing skin and joint disease, respectively, may not detect psoriasis and juvenile psoriatic arthritis. Reviewing the evidence base, most epidemiological data originates from case-series and cross-sectional studies, and there were few case-control and cohort studies investigating risk factors for disease onset, comorbidities, and long-term health outcomes in paediatric psoriasis. This work highlighted a need to improve the recognition of psoriasis in children and for new studies using standardised methodologies and definitions. Currently, no clinical examination-based diagnostic criteria for psoriasis have been developed, tested, or validated. To address this evidence gap, experts collectively agreed on 16 diagnostic features, divided into three major and thirteen minor criteria, which are important for the clinical diagnosis of plaque psoriasis in children. These consensus agreed criteria will be tested in the DIPSOC study. The design of DIPSOC aims to minimise bias in the four key domains proposed by the QUADAS-2 tool, but uses a case-control design to ensure the recruitment target is feasible within the resources available.

1.5 Discussion

The research in this PhD makes an important contribution to the field of paediatric psoriasis and culminates in the design of the DIPSOC study to test and refine a list of diagnostic criteria for psoriasis in children. The criteria are intended to improve the recognition and early diagnosis of psoriasis in children, as well as offer a standardised disease definition for clinical trials and observational research. Improved diagnostic accuracy and increasing the quality of evidence from research studies will provide opportunities for early intervention to prevent long-term harm in children with psoriasis.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Thomas, Kim
Murphy, Ruth
Gran, Sonia
Keywords: Psoriasis; Paediatric; Diagnosis; Epidemiology
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WR Dermatology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 61246
Depositing User: Burden-Teh, Esther
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 13:50
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:50

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