The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are a group of rare conditions characterised by muscle inflammation (myositis). Accurate disease activity assessment is vital in both clinical and research settings, however, current available methods lack ability to quantify associated variation of physical activity, an important consequence of myositis.
This study aims to review studies that have collected accelerometer-derived physical activity data in IIM populations, and to investigate if these studies identified associations between physical and myositis disease activity.
A narrative review was conducted to identify original articles that have collected accelerometer-derived physical activity data in IIM populations. The following databases were searched from February 2000 until February 2019: Medline via PubMed, Embase via OVID and Scopus.
Of the 296 publications screened, eight studies describing accelerometer use in 186 IIM cases were identified. Seven out of the eight studies investigated juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) populations and only one reported on an adult-onset population. Population sizes, disease duration, accelerometer devices used, body placement sites, and study duration varied between each study.
Accelerometer-derived physical activity levels were reduced in IIM cohorts, compared to healthy controls, and studies reported improvement of physical activity levels following exercise programme interventions, thus demonstrating efficacy.
Higher levels of accelerometer-derived physical activity measurements were associated with shorter JDM disease duration, current glucocorticoid use and lower serum creatine kinase. However, no clear association between muscle strength and accelerometer-derived physical activity measures was identified.
The use of accelerometer-derived physical activity in IIM research is in its infancy. Whilst knowledge is currently limited to small studies, the opportunities are promising and future research in this area has the potential to improve disease activity assessment for clinical and research applications.