Background: Patient-reported outcomes (PRO) questionnaires are being increasingly used in COPD clinical studies. The challenge facing investigators is to determine what change is significant, ie what is the minimal clinically important difference (MCID). This study aimed to identify the MCID for the clinical COPD questionnaire (CCQ) in terms of patient referencing, criterion referencing, and by the standard error of measurement (SEM).
Methods: Patients were > or = 40 years of age, diagnosed with COPD, had a smoking history of >10 pack-years, and were participating in a randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing intravenous and oral prednisolone in patients admitted with an acute exacerbation of COPD. The CCQ was completed on Days 1-7 and 42. A Global Rating of Change (GRC) assessment was taken to establish the MCID by patient referencing. For criterion referencing, health events during a period of 1 year after Day 42 were included in this analysis.
Results: 210 patients were recruited, 168 completed the CCQ questionnaire on Day 42. The MCID of the CCQ total score, as indicated by patient referencing in terms of the GRC, was 0.44. The MCID of the CCQ in terms of criterion referencing for the major outcomes was 0.39, and calculation of the SEM resulted in a value of 0.21.
Conclusion: This investigation, which is the first to determine the MCID of a PRO questionnaire via more than one approach, indicates that the MCID of the CCQ total score is 0.4.