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Arch Hellen Med, 18(3), May-June 2001, 267-271


Assessing quality of life with disease specific instruments
in inflammatory bowel disease
The example of surgical interventions

Department of Gastroenterology, Medical School, University of Crete, Crete, Greece

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic diseases with a course characterized by relapses and remissions, and with direct impact on the life of the patients. In order to develop sensitive and accurate instruments for measuring the influence of IBD on the general health of the patients, the methodology must take into account several parameters. Two IBD related questionnaires have been developed, the inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (IBDQ) and the rating form of inflammatory bowel disease patient concerns (RFIPC), both of which have proven reliability and sensitivity. Health related quality of life has been measured before and after surgery in order to appreciate the impact of the surgical intervention on the quality of life of IBD patients. Comparisons between different techniques of total colectomy, with or without ileostomy or pouch, considering quality of life as a major parameter, have been conducted using validated questionnaires. As a result of this approach, the treating gastroenterologist is able to choose more precisely the best and less burdening surgical alternative for the individual patient. There are still several problems to be solved concerning the way in which quality of life is measured in IBD patients undergoing surgery. At present the use of IBD specific questionnaires in well planned trials is the most important step towards an objective measurement of quality of life and therefore towards the design of a better therapeutic strategy.

Key words: Crohn's disease, Quality of life, Questionnaire, Ulcerative colitis.

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