Background: Allergic disease has been shown to impair health-related quality of life (HRQL). The relationship between HRQL and either allergen exposure or allergic inflammation has not been previously assessed.
Objective: To assess the relationship between HRQL and both grass pollen exposure and airway inflammation using the Paediatric Allergic Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (PADQLQ). This is a novel questionnaire previously developed to assess the multi-system aspects of allergic disease.
Methods: Eighty-four subjects, aged 6-17 years, with seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma and/or cutaneous manifestations were assessed before and during the grass pollen season. They were assessed with the PADQLQ, a visual analogue scale (VAS) to assess quality of life, symptom diary and exhaled nitric oxide (FENO).
Results: HRQL, as measured by the PADQLQ, significantly correlated with the average pollen count in the previous week (regression coefficient 0.038, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.027-0.049, P<0.001). The PADQLQ score was also found to be significantly associated with airway inflammation as measured by FENO (regression coefficient 0.410, 95% CI 0.175-0.646, P=0.001). Additionally, PADQLQ showed a high degree of correlation with symptom scores and quality of life as measured by a VAS, good within-subject reliability and a small minimal important difference (0.20, 95% CI -0.09 to 0.49 on a seven-point scale).
Conclusion: HRQL is related to both allergen load and allergic inflammation and the PADQLQ has excellent cross-sectional and longitudinal validity with respect to quality of life and symptoms.