Introduction: This paper reports on the development of a new measure of health-related quality of life for use among patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), funded as part of the REFLUX trial. This is a large UK multi centre trial that aims to compare the clinical and cost effectiveness of minimal access surgery with best medical treatment for patients with GORD within the NHS.
Method: Potential items were identified via a series of interviews and focus groups carried out with patients who were receiving/had received medical or surgical treatment for GORD. The final measure consisted of 31 items covering 7 categories (Heartburn; Acid reflux; Wind; Eating and swallowing; Bowel movements; Sleep; Work, physical and social activities). The measure produced two outputs: a quality of life score (RQLS) and five Reflux symptom scores. Reliability (internal consistency), criterion validity with the SF-36 and, sensitivity to change in terms of relationship with reported change in prescribed medication were assessed amongst a sample of 794 patients recruited into the trial.
Results: The measure was shown to be internally consistent, to show criterion validity with the SF-36 and sensitive to changes in patients use of prescribed medication at baseline and 3 month follow-up.
Discussion: The Reflux questionnaire is a new self-administered questionnaire for use amongst patients with GORD. Initial findings suggest that the new measure is valid, reliable, acceptable to respondents and simple to administer in both a clinical and research context.