Study objectives: To describe the health-related quality of life (HRQL) and mental health of persons with sarcoidosis, as well as to assess physician-patient agreement about the presence of sarcoidosis symptoms.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional study at three university medical center outpatient pulmonary clinics.
Patients: One hundred eleven outpatients with sarcoidosis seen between March and July 2002.
Measurements: The HRQL of sarcoidosis patients was measured using generic and respiratory disease-specific forms (ie, Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form survey [SF-36] and the St. George respiratory questionnaire [SGRQ], respectively). Depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression scale, and stress was assessed with the perceived stress scale four-item questionnaire. The kappa-statistic was calculated to compare physician-patient agreement in assessing sarcoidosis-related symptoms.
Results: Patients had moderate-to-severe reductions across all measured domains in perceived HRQL. Those patients who were prescribed oral corticosteroids had lower scores on both the SF-36 and the SGRQ than did those patients who were not. These differences were statistically significant and clinically important. The prevalence of depression was 66%, and that of significant stress was 55%. Spirometry values (FEV(1), 82% predicted; FVC, 86% predicted) were associated neither with HRQL nor with patients' perceived sarcoidosis symptoms, although they were correlated (r = 0.43; p < 0.0001) with physicians' perceptions that patients were symptomatic. Physicians and patients had only fair agreement (kappa-statistic range, 0.24 to 0.36 [by center]) in assessing perceived sarcoidosis symptoms.
Conclusions: Outpatients with sarcoidosis had global reductions in measured HRQL and mental health indexes, although patients receiving therapy with oral corticosteroids had significantly worse HRQL. Experienced physicians based their assessments of patients' sarcoidosis symptoms on measures that were not related to issues of importance to patients. HRQL measurement may provide a unique insight into the impact that sarcoidosis may have on a patient's life that is not captured in traditional physiologic measures.