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      The assessment of quality of life in acute cough with the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ-acute)

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          Acute cough has a significant impact on physical and psychosocial health and is associated with an impaired quality of life (QOL). The Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ) is a validated cough-related health status questionnaire designed for patients with chronic cough. The purpose of this study was to validate the LCQ for the assessment of health related QOL in patients with acute cough and determine the clinical minimal important difference (MID).


          10 subjects with cough due to acute upper respiratory tract infection underwent focused interviews to investigate the face validity of the LCQ. The LCQ was also evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. 30 subjects completed the revised LCQ-acute and a cough visual analogue score (VAS: 0-100 mm) within one week of onset of cough and again <2 weeks later and at resolution of cough. The concurrent validity, internal reliability, repeatability and responsiveness of the LCQ-acute were also assessed. Patients also completed a Global Rating of Change Questionnaire that assessed the change in cough severity between visits. The MID was calculated as the change in LCQ-acute score for patients responding to GRCQ category representing the smallest change in health status that patients found worthwhile.


          Health status was severely impaired at baseline affecting all domains; median (interquartile range) total LCQ-acute score 13.0 (3.4). All subjects found the LCQ-acute questionnaire acceptable for assessing their cough. Internal reliability of the LCQ-acute was good for all domains and total score, Cronbach's α coefficients >0.9. There was a significant correlation between LCQ-acute and VAS (ρ = -0.48, p = 0.007). The LCQ-acute and its domains were highly responsive to change; effect sizes 1.7-2.3. The MID for total LCQ and VAS were 2.5 and 13 mm respectively.


          The LCQ-acute is a brief, simple and valid instrument to assess cough specific health related QOL in patients with acute cough. It is a highly responsive tool suggesting that it will be particularly useful to assess the effect of antitussive therapy.

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          Determining a minimal important change in a disease-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire.

          This study was carried out to determine whether the minimal important difference, in evaluative quality of life instruments which use a 7-point scale, is similar across individual domains and for both improvement and deterioration. Thirty nine adults with asthma were studied, using an 8 week cohort with assessments at 0, 4 and 8 weeks. The outcomes were the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire and global rating of change. For overall asthma-specific quality of life and for all individual domains (activities, emotions, symptoms), the minimal important difference of quality of life score per item was very close to 0.5 (range: 0.42-0.58); differences of approximately 1.0 represented a moderate change (range: 0.77-1.51); differences greater than 1.5 represented large changes. Changes for improvement and deterioration were very similar. The changes in quality of life score that represent a minimal important difference are very similar to those observed for other evaluative instruments. The observation that the minimal important difference is consistent across domains and for both improvement and deterioration will facilitate interpretation of results of studies examining quality of life.
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            A critical look at transition ratings.

            Patient ratings of the extent to which they have improved or deteriorated-transition ratings-are extremely common in clinical practice and clinical research. However, some have raised concerns about transition rating validity. We examined data from three studies, each of which explored the relation between a disease-specific health-related quality of life (HRQL) instrument and transition ratings corresponding to instrument domains. For instance, we looked at the relation between differences in score on the dyspnea domain of the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire at Times 1 (pre score) and 2 (post score), and the patients' global rating of change in dyspnea at time 2. We restricted ourselves to comparisons in which the correlation between the HRQL instrument domain and the corresponding global rating of change was at least 0.5. A perfectly valid transition rating would show correlations with the pre and post scores of equal magnitude and opposite sign, and regression coefficients of similar magnitude. Of 14 comparisons, correlations between pre and post scores and transition ratings were similar in three instances, and regression coefficients similar in eight. After considering the post score in a regression in which the transition score was the dependent variable, the pre score explained a statistically significant portion of the variance at the 0.01 level in all but four instances. Although transition scores seldom show the ideal pattern of association with pre and post scores, pre scores usually show appreciable correlation and highly significant regression coefficients with transition scores. Investigators using transition scores should ensure their validity by exploring relationships with pre and post scores of corresponding domain scores.
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              Clinical impact versus factor analysis for quality of life questionnaire construction.

              We have compared two philosophically different methods for selecting items for a disease-specific quality of life questionnaire. The impact method selects items that are most frequently perceived as important by patients whereas the psychometric method (factor analysis) selects items primarily according to their relationships with one another. 150 adults with symptomatic asthma and a wide range of disease severity were enrolled from asthma clinics and notices in the local media. From a list of 152 items that are potentially troublesome to patients with asthma, the patients identified those items they had experienced in the previous year and scored the importance of each on a five-point scale. For the impact method, items that were identified most frequently and that scored the highest were included in the final instrument. For the psychometric method, factor analysis was performed after highly skewed items had been removed. Items with high factor loading were included in the final instrument. The impact method resulted in a 32-item instrument and psychometric analysis in one with 36 items. Twenty items were common to both instruments. The psychometric approach discarded the highest impact emotional function and environmental items and included in their place lower impact items mainly associated with fatigue. Although some items were the same for both methods, there were also some important differences. Different approaches to item reduction led to appreciably different instruments.

                Author and article information

                Cough (London, England)
                BioMed Central
                18 July 2011
                : 7
                : 4
                [1 ]Institute for lung health, Department of Respiratory medicine, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK
                [2 ]King's College London, Division of Asthma, Allergy and Lung Biology, London, UK
                Copyright ©2011 Yousaf et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Respiratory medicine


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