BACKGROUND: Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is a heterogeneous condition whose management can be complex and challenging. The 0bjectives is to evaluate physicians' attitudes regarding practical aspects of CSU management, including adherence to international guidelines, criteria and instruments for CSU assessment, prescription of laboratory investigations and role of dietary measures.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a study-specific questionnaire. It was administered to a group of physicians with a specialist interest in CSU from different areas of Italy definable as "CSU experts" (Group A; n=21) and subsequently to other physicians who managed CSU only occasionally in their clinical activity (Group B; n=25).
RESULTS: The EAACI/GA²LEN/EDF/WAO guidelines were considered very or moderately useful by the majority of participants. Significantly more physicians in group A reported that such guidelines were always followed in clinical practice (P=0.0008). Instruments for the assessment of CSU severity/activity and quality of life were used in clinical practice significantly more often by CSU experts as compared to group B. Dietary measures were frequently suggested for CSU patients by nearly three quarters of group B members and by only 5% of CSU experts (P<0.00001). When physicians were asked to indicate the type of laboratory examinations that were commonly performed in patients with longstanding and/or uncontrolled CSU, regardless of history, the investigations most frequently reported were full blood count and thyroid autoantibodies, followed by erythrosedimentation rate and/or C-reactive protein and thyroid function tests.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present pilot survey seem to suggest the heterogeneity of the approaches used for CSU management in clinical practice.