BACKGROUND: Long term disability is common among polytrauma patients. However, as yet little information exists on how to adequately measure functional status and health-related quality of life following polytrauma.
AIMS: To establish the unidimensionality, internal consistency and validity of two health-related quality of life measures and one functional status questionnaire among polytrauma patients.
METHODS: 186 Patients with severe polytrauma including lower extremity injury completed the Sickness Impact Profile-136 (SIP-136), the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Health Survey (SF-36) and the Groningen Activity Restriction Scale (GARS) 15 months after injury. Unidimensionality and internal consistency was assessed by principal components analysis and Cronbach's alpha (alpha). To test the construct validity of the questionnaires, predetermined hypotheses were tested.
RESULTS: The unidimensionality and internal consistency of the GARS and the SF-36, but not the SIP-136 were supported. The construct validity of the SF-36, GARS and to a lesser extent the SIP-136 was confirmed.
CONCLUSION: The SF-36 and the GARS appear to be preferable for use in polytrauma patients over the SIP-136.