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Abstract

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is one preferable outcome measure of medical interventions such as liver transplantation (LT). The aim of this study was to compare HRQoL of LT patients with that of the general population and to assess the employment status of LT patients. HRQoL was measured with the 15D instrument, a validated, non–disease-specific, 15-dimensional, self-administered HRQoL instrument. The questionnaire was sent to all adult LT patients in Finland (401 patients) alive in June 2007. The response rate was 89% (353 patients). The results were compared to those of 6050 age-standardized and gender-standardized controls from the general population. LT patients (mean age, 55 years; range, 20-82) had slightly worse HRQoL scores than the general population (mean 15D score, 0.889 versus 0.907; P < 0.002). Survival time and retransplantation did not affect HRQoL significantly in age-adjusted and gender-adjusted analyses. HRQoL decreased with increasing age (P < 0.0001). Patients transplanted for acute liver failure (ALF) or chronic liver disease (CLD) had significantly worse HRQoL than the general population (P = 0.014 and P = 0.040). Forty-four percent of working-age patients were employed at the time of the study. Persons that were employed had significantly better HRQoL than those unemployed (15D scores, 0.934 versus 0.859; P < 0.0001). Eighty-seven percent of patients experienced improved working capacity after LT. Early retirement was the most common cause of unemployment (56% of unemployed patients), and those patients presented with worse HRQoL than patients unemployed for other reasons. In conclusion, HRQoL of LT patients is very close to that of the general population. Older age, CLD, and ALF impair HRQoL. Employment is an indicator of HRQoL. Liver Transpl 15:64–72, 2009. © 2008 AASLD.