Background: Acute severe asthma can be distressing for patients. It is important to be able to identify the causes of the distress so that these can receive attention in conjunction with the conventional treatment of the airways.
Study objective: To modify the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) for evaluating patients with acute severe asthma and to test the measurement properties of the Acute Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (Acute AQLQ).
Methods: The Acute AQLQ contains the symptom and emotional function items of the AQLQ (n = 11), which are capable of changing over short periods of time. The measurement properties were tested during a clinical trial to compare formoterol and salbutamol in the treatment of acute severe asthma in hospital emergency departments.
Results: The 88 patients in the clinical trial provided evidence that the Acute AQLQ has high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha = 0.90) and is very responsive to change in status (p < 0.00001) with a responsiveness index of 2.5. Correlations between the Acute AQLQ and other measures of clinical status provided evidence of the validity of the instrument.
Conclusion: The Acute AQLQ has strong measurement properties and can be used with confidence to identify the problems that are distressing to patients during an acute asthma exacerbation and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.