Background and aims: In this systematic review we summarise existing scoring indices for assessing disease activity and quality of life in perianal fistulising Crohn’s disease [PFCD], and highlight gaps in the literature.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL were searched from August 24, 2022, to identify studies evaluating clinical, radiological, or patient-reported outcome measures [PROMS] in PFCD. The primary objective was to identify all available scoring indices and describe the operating properties of these indices.

Results: A total of 53 studies reported on the use of one clinical index [Perianal Disease Activity Index: PDAI], three PROMs, and 10 radiological indices; 25 studies evaluated the operating properties of these indices. The PDAI demonstrated content validity, construct validity, and responsiveness but criterion validity or reliability were not assessed. The Van Assche Index [VAI], modified VAI, and the Magnetic Resonance Index for Assessing Fistulas in Patients with CD [MAGNIFI-CD] were the most studied radiological indices. These indices demonstrated responsiveness and reliability. The VAI and MAGNIFI-CD demonstrated construct validity; criterion and content validity and feasibility have not been assessed. Among the three PROMs, the Crohn’s Anal Fistula Quality of Life index demonstrated content and construct validity, inter-observer reliability, and responsiveness; criterion validity, intra-observer reliability, and feasibility have not been assessed for this index.

Conclusions: There are no fully valid, reliable, and responsive clinical disease or radiological indices for PFCD. Although the radiological indices demonstrated responsiveness and reliability, well-defined cut-offs for response and remission are lacking. Future research should focus on establishing standardised definitions and thresholds for outcomes.

Keywords: Outcomes; disease activity indices; operating properties; quality of life.


Crohn's Disease, disease activity indices, operating properties, Outcomes

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