Background: In health-related quality of life (HRQL) studies on allergic rhinitis, both disease-specific and generic questionnaires have been extensively used. Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) has been studied mainly by focusing on symptomatology. The present study aimed to evaluate the SAR-HRQL by means of two questionnaires, the Medical Outcome Study Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and a new instrument examining satisfaction in 32 aspects of daily life: the Satisfaction Profile (SAT-P).
Methods: Thirty-three patients with SAR (aged 33.5±8.5 years; 12 men, 21 women) were evaluated during and 2 months after the pollen season. Data were compared with reference samples by t-test, and baseline and follow-up HRQL scores were compared by a matched-pair test.
Results: Patients' HRQL scores collected during the pollen season were significantly lower than reference sample data in many SF-36 scores and in one SAT-P item. No differences emerged between SF-36 and SAT-P scores collected outside the pollen season and reference sample scores. Compared to baseline, outside the pollen season, patients reported significantly higher scores in the following SF-36 scales: physical functioning (P=0.002), physical role (P=0.00001), bodily pain (P=0.01), and vitality (P=0.008); and significantly higher scores in only two SAT-P items (physical well-being [P=0.009] and resistance to stress [P=0.01]).
Conclusions: Our data confirm the utility of using symptomatologic and health-status questionnaires in evaluating the HRQL of SAR patients. More general quality of life questionnaires may prevent the symptomatologic and functional problems from being adequately recognized and managed. SAT-P can be a fruitful additional tool in HRQL evaluation.