Open Access Research article

How about your peers? Cystic fibrosis questionnaire data from healthy children and adolescents

Marijke M Tibosch12*, Coosje JJCM Sintnicolaas2, Jeannette B Peters13, Peter JFM Merkus2, Jan-Bart L Yntema2, Christianne M Verhaak1 and Jan H Vercoulen13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

3 Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:86  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-86

Published: 11 October 2011

Abstract

Background

The Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire (CFQ) is widely used in research as an instrument to measure quality of life in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In routine patient care however, measuring quality of life is still not implemented in guidelines. One of the reasons might be the lack of consensus on how to interpret CFQ scores of an individual patient, because appropriate reference data are lacking. The question which scores reflect normal functioning and which scores reflect clinically relevant problems is still unanswered. Moreover, there is no knowledge about how healthy children and adolescents report on their quality of life (on the CFQ). With regard to quality of life the effect of normal development should be taken into account, especially in childhood and adolescence. Therefore, it is important to gain more knowledge about how healthy children and adolescents report on their quality of life and if there are any difference in a healthy populations based on age or gender. Without these data we cannot adequately interpret the CFQ as a tool in clinical care to provide patient-tailored care. Therefore this study collected data of the CFQ in healthy children and adolescents with the aim to refer health status of CF youngsters to that of healthy peers.

Methods

The CFQ was completed by 478 healthy Dutch children and adolescents (aged 6-20) in a cross-sectional study.

Results

The majority of healthy children (over 65%) did not reach maximum scores on most domains of the CFQ. Median CFQ-scores of healthy children and adolescents ranged from 67 to 100 (on a scale of 0-100) on the different CFQ-domains. Significant differences in quality of life exist among healthy children and adolescents, and these depend on age and gender.

Conclusions

Reference data of quality of life scores from a healthy population are essential for adequate interpretation of quality of life in young patients with CF. Clinicians should be aware that the perception of health-related quality of life is not as disease-specific as one might think and also relies on factors such as age, normal maturation and gender.