Health-related Quality of Life in Preschool Children with Wheezing and Dyspnea: Preliminary Results from a Random General Population Sample
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Respiratory symptoms have a high prevalence among preschool children (5-20%). This study evaluated the impact of parent-reported respiratory symptoms on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) using the TNO-AZL Preschool Children Quality of Life (TAPQOL) questionnaire. A random general population sample of 500 parents of 3-46-month old children was mailed a questionnaire containing the TAPQOL and questions on the prevalence of respiratory symptoms. The impact of respiratory symptoms on HRQOL was analysed using the Mann-Whitney test and linear regression analysis. Response rate was 83%. The prevalence of combined "wheezing and dyspnea" during the past 4 weeks was 10%. For the sleeping, appetite, lung problems, skin problems, communication, and positive mood TAPQOL scales, HRQOL was significantly lower in the subgroup with "wheezing and dyspnea" (n = 41) than in the subgroup without symptoms (n = 321); large effect sizes were observed for lung problems (2.06) and sleeping (0.80). In multivariate analysis, adjusted for age and gender of the child, "wheezing and dyspnea" were associated with the scales sleeping, appetite, lung problems, communication, and positive mood (p < 0.05). In conclusion, decreases in HRQOL among preschoolers with parent-reported respiratory symptoms are measurable with the TAPQOL. We recommend studying the impact of doctor-diagnosed respiratory symptoms on HRQOL in future studies.
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