Background: Health-related quality of life (QoL) deteriorates immediately after esophagectomy. Patients may benefit from periodic assessments to detect increased morbidity on the basis of subjective self-reports. Using input from patients and health care providers, we developed a brief prototype for the esophageal conduit questionnaire (Mayo Clinic Esophageal Conduit Outcomes Noting Dysphagia/Dumping, and Unknown outcomes with Intermittent symptoms over Time after esophageal reconstruction [CONDUIT] Report Card) and previously used it in comparative research. The present study aimed to expand its content and establish health-related QoL and symptom domains of a patient-reported postesophagectomy conduit evaluation tool.
Methods: We expanded tool content by selecting items measuring patient-reported symptoms from existing questionnaires or written de novo. A multidisciplinary group of clinician content-matter experts approved the draft tool, together with a designated patient advocate. The expanded tool was administered to patients postesophagectomy from March 1 to November 30, 2016. We established domains of conduit performance for score reporting through data analysis with exploratory factor analyses. We assessed psychometric properties such as dimensionality, internal consistency, and inter-item correlations in each domain and compared content coverage with other existing measures intended for this patient population. For data that were missing less than 50% of patient responses, the missing values were imputed.
Results: Five multi-item domains were established from data of 76 patients surveyed after esophagectomy; single items were used to assess stricture and conduit emptying. For every multi-item domain, dominance of 1 factor was present. Internal consistency reliability estimates for the domains were 0.87, 0.78, 0.75, 0.80, and 0.83 and average inter-item correlations were 0.40, 0.50, 0.40, 0.33, and 0.73 for dysphagia, reflux, dumping-gastrointestinal symptoms, dumping-hypoglycemia, and pain, respectively. Some items observed to have lower inter-item correlation were reworded or flagged for removal at future validation. For reflux and dumping-related hypoglycemia, additional items were written after these analyses.
Conclusions: The CONDUIT Report Card is a novel questionnaire for assessing QoL and symptoms of patients after esophageal reconstruction. It covers major symptoms of these patients and has good content validity and psychometric properties. The tool can be used to help direct patient care, guide intervention, and compare efficacy of different treatment options.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier No. 02530983 on 8/18/2015.
Keywords: Dumping; Dysphagia; Esophageal cancer; Esophagus; Patient-reported outcome measures; Postoperative pain; Psychometrics; Questionnaires; Reflux; Stricture.