Background Quantification of quality of life (QoL) related to disease severity is important in patients with atopic eczema (AE), because the assessment provides additional information to the traditional objective clinical scoring systems.
Objectives To measure health-related QoL (HRQoL) in patients with AE; to analyse discriminant, divergent and convergent validity by examining the association between various QoL methods; and to examine the association between disease severity assessed by an objective Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) and QoL.
Methods HRQoL was assessed at two visits at a 6-monthly interval in 101 patients with AE and 30 controls with one dermatology-specific questionnaire [Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) or Children's DLQI (CDLQI)], one generic instrument (SF-36) and three visual analogue scales (VASs) of severity and pruritus. Objective SCORAD was used to measure disease severity.
Results Patients with AE had significantly lower QoL than healthy controls and the general population. DLQI /CDLQI, pruritus, and patient and investigator overall assessment of eczema severity were significantly (P < 0·0001) and positively correlated with SCORAD, while the generic questionnaire showed only poor correlation. A gender difference was found for the mental component score of SF-36 (P = 0·019).
Conclusions AE has an impact on HRQoL. Patients' mental health, social functioning and role emotional functioning seem to be more affected than physical functioning. A simple VAS score of patients' assessment of disease severity showed the highest and most significant correlations with most of the HRQoL methods used. There is evidence to support the ability of patients with AE to make an accurate determination of their disease severity and QoL.