OBJECTIVE: To investigate the psychometric properties of a cardiovascular extension of an existing utility-based quality of life questionnaire (Health Measurement Questionnaire). The new instrument has been named the Utility Based Quality of life--Heart questionnaire, or UBQ-H. DESIGN: Explored the test-retest reliability, construct validity, and responsiveness of the UBQ-H. PATIENTS: A sample of 322 patients attending cardiac outpatient clinics were recruited from two large metropolitan teaching hospitals. A second sample of 1112 patients taking part in the LIPID trial was also used to investigate the validity and responsiveness of the UBQ-H. RESULTS: Ninety per cent of all UBQ-H questionnaires were returned, and item completion rates were high (median of less than 1% missing or N/A answers). Cronbach's alpha measure of internal consistency for the scales ranged between 0.79-0.91, and each item was also most strongly correlated with its hypothesised domain than alternative domains. The intra-class test-retest reliability of the UBQ-H scales ranged from 0.65 to 0.81 for patients with stable health. Results supported the construct validity of the UBQ-H. The UBQ-H was significantly correlated with other information on quality of life (for example, General Health Questionnaire) as anticipated. The instrument was able to distinguish between contrasted groups of patients (for example, with versus without symptoms of dyspnoea, prior myocardial infarction versus none, etc), and was responsive to changes in health associated with adverse events requiring hospitalisation. CONCLUSIONS: The modifications made to the Health Measurement Questionnaire has resulted in an assessment designed for cardiovascular patients that has proved to be both reliable and valid.
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