Patient Misunderstanding of the Individual Questions of the American Urological Association Symptom Score

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Abstract

Purpose:

Lower urinary tract symptoms are often assessed using the American Urological Association symptom score. However, some patients may experience difficulty completing the AUA questionnaire. We hypothesized that certain individual questions may generate more misunderstanding than others.

Materials and Methods:

This study involved patients at 2 hospitals who completed the American Urological Association symptom score twice, that is 1) self-administered and 2) physician assisted. Analyses compared self-reported and physician obtained responses to each individual question. One-way ANOVA with the Tukey HSD post hoc test was done to assess whether mean disagreements between self-reported and physician administered American Urological Association symptom scores differed significantly by patient education level.

Results:

The study group consisted of 998 patients. For each symptom score question we found an inverse relationship between education level and symptom misrepresentation. This discrepancy was the largest for questions on frequency (question 2) and urgency (question 4), which are related to irritative symptoms. Mean misrepresentation of the total American Urological Association symptom score was 2.42 and 5.33 for patients with greater than 12 and fewer than 9 years of education, respectively (p <0.001). Of patients with more than 12 years of education 28% misreported their symptoms by 4 points or greater and 1% misreported them by 10 points or greater, while 58% with fewer than 9 years of education misreported their total score by 4 points or greater and 21% misreported it by greater than 10 points.

Conclusions:

While the American Urological Association symptom score is a useful tool for the rapid diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia, patients with low education misrepresent their scores more often and to a higher degree, possibly predisposing them to inappropriate care.

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