PURPOSE: Frequent changes in chronic urticaria (CU) activity over time can cause psychological stress, which also serves as a trigger of CU. To measure the control status of CU, the Urticaria Control Test (UCT) was developed in Germany. This study aimed to investigate the validity, reliability and responsiveness to changes in CU for the Korean version of the UCT (K-UCT) and its relation with salivary cortisol and cortisone levels.
METHODS: Linguistic adaptation of the UCT into Korean was conducted. A total of 96 CU patients were enrolled, and 80 of them completed the study. The K-UCT and other outcome scores for CU were measured and repeated after 4 weeks of treatment. Control status was classified by physicians into well-controlled, partly-controlled, and uncontrolled CU. Salivary cortisol and cortisone were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.
RESULTS: Excellent internal consistency and intra-class reliability were obtained. Strong correlations between the K-UCT and disease severity, reflected in the Urticaria Activity Score (UAS)/global assessment of urticaria control by physicians/patient assessment of symptom severity/CU-specific quality of life were noted. K-UCT scores >/=12 were found to be optimal for determining well-controlled CU (sensitivity, 75.0%: specificity, 758%: area under the curve, 0.824). Perceived stress scale scores were significantly correlated with the UAS and the K-UCT. Salivary cortisone levels were significantly correlated with K-UCT (r = 0.308, P = 0.009) and differed significantly according to control status determined by a K-UCT >/=12.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the K-UCT can be a valid instrument with which to gauge CU control status in Korean patients. Further studies are needed to validate salivary cortisone as a biomarker for CU control.
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