Health status in COPD cannot be measured by the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire alone: an evaluation of the underlying concepts of this questionnaire.
SourceRespiratory Research, 11, (2010), pp. 98
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectN4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness
BACKGROUND: Improving patients' health status is one of the major goals in COPD treatment. Questionnaires could facilitate the guidance of patient-tailored disease management by exploring which aspects of health status are problematic, and which aspects are not. Health status consists of four main domains (physiological functioning, symptoms, functional impairment, and quality of life), and at least sixteen sub-domains. A prerequisite for patient-tailored treatment is a detailed assessment of all these sub-domains. Most questionnaires developed to measure health status consist of one or a few subscales and measure merely some aspects of health status. The question then rises which aspects of health status are measured by these instruments, and which aspects are not covered. As it is one of the most frequently used questionnaires in COPD, we evaluated which aspects of health status are measured and which aspects are not measured by the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). METHODS: One hundred and forty-six outpatients with COPD participated. Correlations were calculated between the three sections of the SGRQ and ten sub-domains of the Nijmegen Integral Assessment Framework, covering Symptoms, Functional Impairment, and Quality of Life. As the SGRQ was not expected to measure physiological functioning, we did not include this main domain in the statistical analyses. Pearson's r > or = 0.70 was used as criterion for conceptual similarity. RESULTS: The SGRQ sections Symptoms and Total showed conceptual similarity with the sub-domain Subjective Symptoms (main domain Symptoms). The sections Activity, Impacts and Total were conceptual similar to Subjective Impairment (main domain Functional Impairment). The SGRQ sections were not conceptual similar to other sub-domains of Symptoms, Functional Impairment, nor to any sub-domain of Quality of Life. CONCLUSIONS: The SGRQ could facilitate the guidance of disease management in COPD only partially. The SGRQ is appropriately only for measuring problems in the sub-domains Subjective Symptoms and Subjective Impairment, and not for measuring problems in other sub-domains of health status, such as Quality of Life.
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