Quality of life assessment in patients with chronic urticaria

An Bras Dermatol. 2011 Sep-Oct;86(5):897-904. doi: 10.1590/s0365-05962011000500006.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Background: Chronic urticaria affects patients by interfering with their daily activities, damaging their self-esteem and negatively affecting their interpersonal relationships. Healthcare professionals may underestimate the impact of the condition on patients' quality of life.

Objectives: To evaluate quality of life using one generic and one disease-specific health-related quality of life instrument; to compare quality of life between the different clinical types of chronic urticaria and to evaluate whether angioedema further impairs quality of life.

Methods: Sixty-two patients with chronic urticaria, who had had signs or symptoms of the disease within the preceding week, were divided into groups according to whether they had ordinary chronic urticaria, physical chronic urticaria or mixed chronic urticaria.

Results: There was a predominance of women in this study (72.6%). The mean age of patients was 39.8 years and angioedema was associated with chronic urticaria in 75.8% of cases. Associated angioedema was more commonly found in patients with ordinary chronic urticaria (p=0.011) and in women (p=0.024). With respect to the different clinical types, 32.3% of the patients had ordinary chronic urticaria, 27.4% had physical chronic urticaria and 40.3% had mixed chronic urticaria. Mean overall score for the disease-specific questionnaire was 10.4. In this questionnaire, the most affected domains were "symptoms and feelings" and "daily activities", while the most affected domains in the SF-36 were "physical role" and "vitality". Quality of life was found to be impaired in women, in patients of up to 30 years of age, in those attending a first consultation, in those with higher education levels, in patients who had had the disease for up to one year and in those with angioedema.

Conclusion: Chronic urticaria affects quality of life, as measured using a disease-specific questionnaire and a generic questionnaire. There was no statistically significant difference between the clinical types. The presence of angioedema impaired patients' quality of life even further. There was a statistically significant correlation between the scores obtained using the disease-specific questionnaire and those obtained using the generic questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urticaria / physiopathology
  • Urticaria / psychology*