Quality of life questionnaires in otorhinolaryngology: a systematic overview

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The importance of quality of life (QOL) as an endpoint and the use of validated QOL questionnaires have increased over time.


To evaluate health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) measurement instruments used in patients in otorhinolaryngology (ORL). We aimed to establish the use of QOL questionnaires in ORL over a period of time, establish the use of QOL questionnaires within different domains and determine the use of validated QOL questionnaires.

Main out come measures:

We performed a comprehensive search in PubMed up to 1 January 2014. Articles were included that measured HR-QOL questionnaires in clinical practice in children, adolescents or adults in 42 journals of ORL. Multiple unique QOL questionnaires, organised according to domain, time and survey of validation, were extracted from reported articles.


Of 2442 articles, we utilised 1196 publications with a total of 2103 QOL questionnaires regarding ORL. We evaluated a variety of 363 unique QOL questionnaires in which 60% (n = 220) QOL questionnaires had been validated. We found a continuing increase in the amount of articles which used QOL questionnaires since the beginning of the 20th century, while the percentage of validated QOL questionnaires remained the same (76%). Most QOL questionnaires were used in the domains oncology (35%), otology (21%) and rhinology (20%). The domain otology had the largest amount of unique QOL questionnaires (n = 122).


We identified and evaluated all unique HR-QOL questionnaires utilised in patients in ORL. Recently, the use of validated and non-validated HR-QOL questionnaires has increased within all domains of ORL. The assessment of QOL has become an important outcome measure in clinical practice, in medical research and for healthcare organisations.

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