Asthma is a serious global health problem and its prevalence is increasing, especially among children. It represents a significant social and economic burden, and it can severely affect the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients. Among the numerous questionnaires aiming at evaluating asthma HRQL in children, the Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (PAQLQ) has proved to have good measurement properties.
The present study was aimed at investigating the possible role of the Italian, self-administered version of the PAQLQ in the routine clinical evaluation of children affected by bronchial asthma.
52 Italian children and adolescents (40 males and 12 females), aged 6 to 17 years, affected by allergic asthma, were enrolled. Each patient was evaluated twice, and at each visit asthma control and severity were assessed, spirometry was performed and the patients completed the self-administered version of the PAQLQ.
The questionnaire was well-accepted and understood by the children. Children showed an overall good quality of life, with mild impairment in the activity and emotional function domains. The PAQLQ showed an overall good correlation with the clinical and functional indexes that are normally evaluated in follow-up visits of asthmatic patients. The PAQLQ appeared to be strongly related to asthma control, both at the first (p < 0.01) and second (p < 0.001) time of the study. The PAQLQ was also seen to decrease with increasing asthma severity. The results suggest a better compliance of the children towards completion of the questionnaire at t1. Finally, the PAQLQ does not appear to discriminate HRQL in patients with good lung function.
The Italian version of the PAQLQ is a quick-to-administer aid to clinical activity and can add valuable information to symptom reports, objective measurements and clinical assessment of asthma control and severity in daily clinical practice. Re-administration at each follow-up visit allows HRQL to be monitored over time.