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Development and preliminary validation of a new screening questionnaire for identifying atopic children

Authors Sacchetti M, Baiardini I, Chini L, Moschese V, Bruscolini A, Lambiase A

Received 21 May 2017

Accepted for publication 13 July 2017

Published 21 September 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 99—105


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Roosy Aulakh

Marta Sacchetti,1,2 Ilaria Baiardini,3 Loredana Chini,4 Viviana Moschese,4 Alice Bruscolini,2 Alessandro Lambiase2

1Cornea and Ocular Surface Unit, IRCCS-Ospedale San Raffaele di Milano, Milan, 2Department of Sense Organs, Sapienza University, Rome, 3Allergy and Respiratory Diseases Clinic, DIMI, University of Genoa, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genoa, 4Pediatric Allergology and Immunology Unit, Policlinico Tor Vergata, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

Background: Allergic diseases represent a frequent and increasing condition affecting children. A screening questionnaire allowing an easy identification of children with symptoms of allergic diseases may improve management and clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to develop and validate an easy-to-use screening questionnaire to detect children requiring further allergological evaluations.
Methods: A 10-item questionnaire, evaluating the presence and the history of the most frequent allergic conditions affecting children, including allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, food allergy, and atopic dermatitis, was developed and administered to 214 parents of children from 5 to 10 years of age (163 with allergic disease and 51 healthy, nonallergic children). Validation was performed by Pearson’s correlation between the clinical diagnosis and the responses to the questionnaire. Internal consistency was computed by Cronbach’s alpha correlation coefficient. Sensitivity and specificity of the novel questionnaire were assessed by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.
Results: Validation analysis of the new children atopy (ChAt) questionnaire showed good internal consistency with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.757. Responses to the items evaluating the presence of individual allergic conditions significantly correlated with the clinical diagnosis (p<0.001). The ROC curve showed an area of 0.956 and identified a cutoff value >2 of the ChAt questionnaire total score for detection of allergy (sensitivity =0.92 and specificity =0.902).
Conclusion: The novel ChAt questionnaire represents a simple tool able to detect the presence of all major allergic diseases in a pediatric population allowing an early identification of allergic multimorbidity and potentially facilitating clinical management.

Keywords: allergy, questionnaire, children, screening, validation

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