Open Access Short report

Assessing health status and quality of life of Q-fever patients: the Nijmegen Clinical Screening Instrument versus the Short Form 36

Joris AF van Loenhout1*, W John Paget12, Gerwin W Sandker1, Jeannine LA Hautvast1, Koos van der Velden1 and Jan H Vercoulen3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary and Community Care, Academic Collaborative Centre AMPHI, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

2 Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, the Netherlands

3 Department of Medical Psychology and Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, 11:112  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-112

Published: 4 July 2013



The aim of the study was to assess the use of the Nijmegen Clinical Screening Instrument (NCSI) and Short Form 36 (SF-36) in providing a detailed assessment of health status of Q-fever patients and to evaluate which subdomains within the NCSI and SF-36 measure unique aspects of health status.


Patients received a study questionnaire, which contained the NCSI and SF-36. Pearson correlation coefficients between subdomains of the instruments were calculated. The response rate was 94% (309 out of 330 eligible patients). Intercorrelations between subdomains of the NCSI were generally lower than of the SF-36. Four subdomains of the NCSI showed conceptual similarity (Pearson’s r ≥ .70) with one or more subdomains of the SF-36 and vice versa. Subdomains that showed no conceptual similarity were NCSI Subjective Pulmonary Symptoms, Subjective Impairment, Dyspnoea Emotions and Satisfaction Relations, and SF-36 Social functioning, Bodily Pain, Role Physical and Role Emotional.


Our results show that either the NCSI or SF-36 can be used to measure health status in Q-fever patients. When the aim is to obtain a detailed overview of the patients’ health, a combination of the two instruments, consisting of the complete NCSI and the four unique subdomains of the SF-36, is preferred.

Q-fever; Coxiella burnetii; Health status; Quality of life