Background: Although the pathophysiological defect in primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD; Siewert's/Kartagener's syndrome) is now well characterised, there are few studies of the impact of the condition upon health function, particularly in later life. This study assesses the health impact of the condition in a large group of patients. In addition, it assesses the similarity in age of diagnosis, symptoms and problems of those with situs inversus (PCD-SI) and those with situs solitus (PCD-SS).
Methods: Postal questionnaire sent to members of the UK Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Family Support Group. The questionnaire contained the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and the SF-36 questionnaire for assessing health status.
Results: 93 questionnaires were returned, representing a 66% response rate. Replies were received from similar numbers of PCD-SI and PCD-SS. Individuals with PCD-SI did not show a significant tendency to be diagnosed earlier, and neither did they show any difference in their symptoms, or the relationship of symptoms to age. Respiratory symptoms were fairly constant up until the age of about 25, after which there was a slow increase in symptoms, and a decline in health status, patients over the age of 40 being about one and a half standard deviations below the mean on the physical component score of the PCS. Patients diagnosed earlier in life, and hence who had received more treatment for their condition, had better scores on the SGRQ Impact and Activity scores.
Conclusions: PCD is a chronic condition which has a progressively greater impact on health in the second half of life, producing significant morbidity and restriction of life style. Early diagnosis, and hence earlier treatment, may improve symptoms and the impact of the condition.