Background: In clinical practice there is the need to utilise a time saving questionnaire to assess the quality of life. Aims: To establish the validity of the SF-12 questionnaire in chronic pancreatitis patients and to identify the predictors capable of modifying the physical and mental summaries in these patients. Questionnaires: SF-12 and SF-36 questionnaires were used. Subjects: One hundred and forty-one outpatients with proven chronic pancreatitis. The data of 141 sex- and age-matched Italian subjects of two normative groups (61,434 Italian subjects for SF-12 and 2031 Italian subjects for SF-36) were used as controls. Results: Chronic pancreatitis patients had the SF-12 physical and mental component summaries significantly related to the SF-36 physical and mental component summaries (P < 0.001). The presence of pancreatic pain and non-pancreatic surgery accounted for 41.3% in the formation of the PCS-36 score and 37.2% in that of the PCS-12 score, respectively. Gender, BMI and pancreatic pain accounted for 15.3% of the information in the formation of the MCS-36 and for 14.7% in that of the MCS-12; using these clinical variables, the loss of information in applying the SF-12 instead of the SF-36 was very low (4.1 and 0.6% for the PCS and the MCS, respectively). Conclusions: The SF-12 is a good alternative to the SF-36 in assessing the quality of life in chronic pancreatitis.
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