A case-control study comparing the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) ratings of patients undergoing leprosy treatment, people cured of leprosy, and controls in Vietnam
Background: Leprosy is a neuro-cutaneous disease caused by the pathogen Mycobacterium leprae. The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) has been used in studying the quality of life (QOL) of people with leprosy. However, the DLQI has not been used to evaluate the QOL of people cured of leprosy in Vietnam.
Objectives: To evaluate the QOL of people being treated for leprosy (Group A), people cured of leprosy (Group B), and controls (Group C), in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the surrounding province.
Methods: 102 (34 matched sets) adult participants were enrolled using a consecutive sampling technique. Groups B and C were matched to patients receiving leprosy treatment (Group A). Participants were interviewed, collating background characteristics, self-rated disability and stigma, and the validated Vietnamese DLQI.
Results: The sample’s median age was 41; each group had 28 men and six women. For the DLQI, Groups A & B had significantly higher (lower QOL) scores than Group C for multiple subdomain scores, including symptoms & feelings (A vs C, p ¼ 0·0004; B vs C, p ¼ 0·001), work & school (A vs C, p ¼ 0·003; B vs C, p ¼ 0·006), and the total DLQI score (A vs C, p ¼ 0·0009; B vs C, p ¼ 0·0025).
Conclusion: The DLQI results shed greater light on the QOL disparity related to leprosy. Clinically, the mean total DLQI scores from both Groups A & B suggest that their skin condition has a ‘small effect’ on their life. The results highlight the fact that the burden of leprosy on QOL does not necessarily fully disappear once a person is cured of leprosy.