Hidradenitis suppurativa: severity assessment

Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2015.

How is severity and extent of hidradenitis assessed?

The severity and extent of hidradenitis suppurativa should be recorded at assessment and when determining the impact of a treatment. Two scoring systems are in common use: Hurley Stages and Sartorius Hidradenitis Suppurativa Score.

Hurley Stages

The Hurley system describes three distinct clinical stages.

Stage 1 – solitary or multiple, isolated abscess formation without scarring or sinus tracts
Stage 2 – recurrent abscesses, single or multiple widely separated lesions, with sinus tract formation
Stage 3 – diffuse or broad involvement, with multiple interconnected sinus tracts and abscesses.

Sartorius Hidradenitis Suppurativa Score

The Sartorius Hidradenitis Suppurativa Score is made by counting involved regions, nodules and sinus tracts.


The six-point Physician Global Assessment (PGA) ranges from clear to very severe. It is used in clinical trials to measure clinical improvement in inflammatory nodules, abscesses and draining fistulae.


The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Clinical Response (HiSCR) is defined as a ≥ 50% reduction in inflammatory lesion count (abscesses + inflammatory nodules), and no increase in abscesses or draining fistulas when compared with baseline. It has been recently used to assess the effectiveness of treatment with biologics.


It is also useful to consider the degree of pain, the number of flares, and the impact on daily life in hidradenitis suppurativa. The Cardiff Dermatology Life Quality Index or DLQI questionnaire is often used.

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