Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research

Quality of Life in Adults Following The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet

Kristy-Lee Raso
Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Wollongong
Supervisors: Anne Swain, Brooke McKinnon, Carling Chan, Kirsty Le Ray, Robert Loblay, Anne McMahon
November 2014

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Background/Aim: Food intolerance may negatively impact quality of life (QoL), however the influence of an elimination diet on QoL remains unclear. This study aims to determine QoL of outpatients presenting to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Allergy Unit following the Elimination Diet at baseline to on the Elimination Diet, and identify relationships between symptoms, diet and QoL.

Methods: Adults presenting to the RPAH Allergy Unit with suspected food intolerance between March and September 2014 completed The World Health Organization Quality of Life Bref (WHOQoL-Bref) questionnaire, The Food-Related QoL (FRQoL) questionnaire and the RPAH Allergy Unit Assessment Form at their initial appointment and three months after starting the Elimination Diet. The relationship between QoL and symptoms were statistically analysed.

Results: Seventy-four patients completed the questionnaires at their initial appointment and twelve, three months after starting the Elimination Diet. Baseline QoL was low compared to Australian norms. WHOQoL domains (follow-up cohort n=12) displayed small changes at three months; physical and environmental QoL improved from baseline, psychological and social QoL decreased. Two FRQoL subscales: food-related health and emotional impact improved, indicating better QoL. Symptoms were seen to occur across three main body systems (gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, skin) and patients with higher symptom frequency and severity had lower baseline QoL scores.

Conclusion: QoL is impaired in patients with suspected food intolerance presenting to an outpatient hospital. The Elimination Diet effectively reduces symptoms and improves QoL. Further research is needed over a longer timeframe to determine the suitability of the questionnaires to measure QoL change, and if a symptom-specific QoL is needed.