Modified Dermatology Life Quality Index as a measure of quality of life in patients with filarial lymphoedema.
The quality of life (QoL) and correlates of the QoL of lymphoedema patients attending filariasis clinics and a hospital outpatient department were studied using a Life Quality Index (LQI) in a region endemic for Bancroftian filariasis in Sri Lanka. The index was derived by modifying a previously validated Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) to focus on the oedematous limb rather than the skin. The index was scored from 0 (normal) to 30 (severely affects QoL). Lymphoedema was graded using criteria recommended by the WHO. Another semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess the patient's socioeconomic status, frequency of acute adenolymphangitis attacks (ADLA) and measures practiced for morbidity control. Ninety-one patients (62 females, 29 males; mean age 50.4 years) were studied. A single lower limb, both lower limbs or a single upper limb were affected in 78 (85.7%), 10 (11.0%) and 3 (3.3%) patients, respectively. The severity of lymphoedema ranged from stage 1 (mild) to stage 6 (severe). The mean LQI was 8.2 (SD 5.2, range 0-20). The modified DLQI scores showed a significant positive correlation with severity of lymphoedema and a negative correlation with age (R=0.59 and R=-0.1, respectively). The frequency of ADLAs correlated with an increased modified DLQI score. Local pain, embarrassment and limitations of physical activities were the most distressing aspects of lymphoedema. Disease severity and early onset lymphoedema were found to be significantly associated with poorer QoL in filarial lymphoedema.