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Background

There is currently no validated questionnaire that assesses both the presence and severity of dyspepsia.

Aim

To develop the Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire (LDQ) as a measure of the presence and severity of dyspepsia, and to assess the validity, reliability and responsiveness of this instrument.

Methods

Unselected patients attending either a hospital dyspepsia clinic or a general practice surgery were interviewed by a trained gastroenterologist or a general practitioner on the presence and severity of dyspepsia. This opinion was compared with the results of the nurse-administered LDQ. Test–retest reliability was assessed by the same research nurse re-administering the LDQ 4–7 days after the initial visit in a subgroup of hospital patients. In a further subgroup of patients one researcher interviewed the patients and a second researcher re-administered the LDQ within 30 min to evaluate inter-rater reliability. The responsiveness of the LDQ was measured by repeating it in patients with endoscopically proven peptic ulcer or oesophagitis 1 month after receiving appropriate therapy.

Results

The LDQ was administered to 99 general practice and 215 hospital patients. In the GP population 41/98 (42%) had dyspepsia according to the GP and the LDQ had a sensitivity of 80% (95% CI: 65–91%) and a specificity of 79% (95% CI: 66–89%). The weighted kappa statistic for the agreement between the LDQ and the clinician for the severity of dyspepsia was 0.58 in the GP population and 0.49 in hospital patients. The kappa statistic for test–retest reliability was 0.83 in 107 patients. The LDQ had excellent inter-rater reliability with a kappa statistic of 0.90 in 42 patients. The median LDQ score fell from 22.5 (range 9–36) to 4.5 (range 0–27) in 12 patients 1 month after receiving appropriate therapy (Wilcoxon signed rank test, < 0.0001).

Conclusion

The LDQ is a valid, reliable and responsive instrument for measuring the presence and severity of dyspepsia.