The objective of this study was to test the severity rating of the signs and architectural changes for interrater reliability among world experts via analysis of lichen sclerosus (LS) photographs.
A recent Delphi consensus exercise established a list of symptoms, signs, and architectural changes, which experts feel are important to include in a severity scale. Photographs of vulvar LS were manually extracted from patient charts and 50 photographs with a range of severity of signs and architectural changes were chosen. Lichen sclerosus experts were invited to take part in the study and 3 dermatologists and 3 gynecologists were selected for their expertise and geographic variety. Raters assessed the photographs for multiple signs and architectural changes as well as an overall impression of disease severity on a 4-point Likert scale. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated.
The intraclass correlation coefficients were very poor for individual signs and architectural changes as well as for overall disease severity when analyzed for all 6 raters as well as when analyzed with dermatologists' and gynecologists' responses grouped separately. There were no statistically significant correlations found.
Global experts were unable to agree on any signs, architectural changes, or an overall global impression to assess vulvar LS disease severity based on analysis of vulvar photographs. Standardized descriptions regarding what constitutes mild, moderate, and severe signs and anatomical changes are required before further scale development can occur.