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Quality of life in rhinoconjunctivitis assessed with generic and disease-specific questionnaires

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Background: 

Illness as perceived by the allergic patient with asthma and/or rhinoconjunctivitis (RC) can be assessed by measurements of their health-related quality of life (HRQL). For this purpose the RC Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) has gained general acceptance; however, as most allergic patients experience symptoms from multiple organs, disease-specific HRQL measures may be deficient. This study compares a generic and a disease-specific HRQL instrument in grass and/or mite-allergic patients. Methods: 

Two hundred and forty-eight patients with RC and 121 patients with both RC and asthma were studied. Questionnaire information was obtained about allergy-related RQLQ and a generic 15-dimensional instrument for measuring HRQL (15D). Doctors provided general and disease-specific information to classify disease severity according to the global initiative for asthma and allergic rhinitis and its impact on asthma guidelines. Results: 

Rhinoconjunctivitis patients with persistent moderate-to-severe disease had an impaired quality of life on all items of RQLQ during allergen exposure. The 15D mean score was 0.98 on a day without allergy and 0.83 on a day with allergy (P < 0.001). The correlation between 15D and RQLQ was r = −0.42 on a day with allergy (P < 0.001). Only 15D scores showed statistically significant differences in HRQL between patients with and without asthma. Conclusion: 

During allergen exposure patients with RC experience a serious deterioration in HRQL measured with the disease-specific RQLQ instrument and the generic 15D instrument. The 15D instrument seems to generate a more comprehensive view of the impact of allergen exposure on patient’s quality of life than RQLQ.
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Keywords: 15D; Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire; allergy; asthma; health-related quality of life; rhinoconjunctivitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Public Health, Health Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense 2: Department of Respiratory Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus 3: AYK-Abelló, Hørsholm, Denmark

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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