Symptom Burden Questionnaire™ for Long COVID

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™ for Long COVID system (SBQ™-LC) is a patient-reported outcome (PRO) measure and multi-domain item bank that has been developed according to international best-practice and regulatory guidance.  The SBQ™-LC system measures symptom burden in adults (18+ years) with post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), also known as “post COVID-19 condition” or “Long COVID”.

University of Birmingham Symptom Burden QuestionnaireTM logo

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™ for Long COVID system
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About the SBQ™-LC

The SBQ™-LC system measures symptom burden in adults (18+ years) with “post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), also known as “post COVID-19 condition” or “Long COVID”.  The SBQ™-LC is composed of 17 independently functioning, unidimensional scales. Sixteen scales measure symptom burden (i.e., symptom presence, severity, or frequency) across different symptom “domains” and one scale measures symptom impact on daily life.

This modular approach means all scales can be administered to collect comprehensive symptom data or that only those scales relating to symptom domains of particular interest need be administered. 

Conversion of raw scores to a common metric (0-100) allows easy comparison of scores across the different symptom domains.

Name of instrument 

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™ for Long COVID (SBQ™-LC) 

Version (date) 

1.0 (September 2021) 

Target population 

Adults (18+ years) living with Long COVID 

Number of scales 

17 

Scale domains 

Breathing; Pain; Circulation; Fatigue; Memory, Thinking and communication; Movement; Sleep; Ear, nose and throat; Stomach and digestion; Muscles and joints; Mental health and wellbeing; Skin and hair; Eyes; Reproductive health (male/female); Other symptoms; Impact on daily life

Number of symptoms 

123 

Number of items 

131 

Recall period 

In the last 7 days 

Response scales 

Ordinal 4-point rating scales measuring frequency, severity, or interference

Dichotomous yes/no response

Scoring 

Manual scoring, 2 items are reverse scored, raw scale scores and conversion of raw scale scores to linear 0-100 scores

Administration

Self-completion and interview when applicable

Formats

Paper-based and electronic

Available languages 

English (United Kingdom) 

Licensing 

Non-commercial and commercial licenses available 

Structure of the SBQ™-LC

The SBQ™-LC includes 16 symptom scales, each measuring a different symptom domain and a single scale measuring symptom interference.

 

SBQ Conceptual Framework as detailed below

 

Development and validation of the SBQ™-LC

The SBQ™-LC was developed according to internationally recommended guidance in a multi-phase mixed-methods study. The SBQ™-LC was developed from a systematic review of Long COVID symptoms, pretesting with clinicians (n = 10), and cognitive debriefing interviews with adults with lived experience of Long COVID (n = 13).  Two hundred and seventy-four adults with Long COVID field tested the SBQ™-LC via the Aparito Atom5™ platform.

A description of the development and initial validation of the SBQ™-LC has been published (Hughes et al 2022).

Copyright and Terms of Use

  • The Symptom Burden Questionnaire for Long COVID (SBQ™-LC) is copyright of the University of Birmingham - © University of Birmingham 2021. All rights reserved.
  • The SBQ™-LC system is available under license.
  • A non-commercial license may be obtained free of charge for clinicians and academic researchers.
  • A commercial license is available at a cost to “for profit” commercial organisations.

Translations

Available languages

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™-Long COVID is currently available in UK English.

Request for translation

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™-Long COVID cannot be translated without permission from the University of Birmingham. The University of Birmingham will explore translation into unavailable languages upon request: sbq@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Translations will be overseen by the University of Birmingham working with translation agencies in accordance with ISO 9001 and ISO 17100. This will include forward and backward translation and cognitive debriefing. Upon receipt of a request for translation the University will advise whether the translation(s) can be delivered and timelines and costs for translation including the user manual. Any translated versions of the Symptom Burden Questionnaire™ and user manuals are owned and copyrighted by the University of Birmingham.

Development Team

University of Birmingham

Aparito Ltd

  • Dr Elin Haf Davies 
  • Mr Chris Frost

The Symptom Burden Questionnaire™- Long COVID has been funded through independent research jointly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (Therapies for Long COVID in nonhospitalized individuals: From symptoms, patient reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study), (COV-LT-0013).

The views expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, or UKRI.

Publications

Aiyegbusi OL, Hughes SE, Turner G, Rivera SC, McMullan C, Chandan JS, Haroon S, Price G, Davies EH, Nirantharakumar K, Sapey E, Calvert MJ; TLC Study Group. Symptoms, complications and management of long COVID: a review. J R Soc Med. 2021 Sep;114(9):428-442. doi: 10.1177/01410768211032850. 

Hughes, S. E., Haroon, S., Subramanian, A., McMullan, C., Aiyegbusi, O. L., Turner, G. M., Jackson, L., Davies, E. H., Frost, C., McNamara, G., Price, G., Matthews, K., Camaradou, J., Ormerod, J., Walker, A., & Calvert, M. J. (2022). Development and validation of the Symptom Burden QuestionnaireTM for Long Covid: A Rasch analysis. MedRxiv, 2022.01.16.22269146. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.16.22269146

Contact us

For more information about the SBQ-LC or to request a translation: sbq@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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