Background : We performed a systematic review of the literature to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with functional dyspepsia with either healthy controls or those with other diseases.

Methods : Full-length published manuscripts during 1980–2002 were included if (a) patients had functional dyspepsia, but not uninvestigated dyspepsia; and (b) HRQOL was measured using a validated generic or dyspepsia-specific instruments, but not global assessment alone.

Results : Twelve studies were reviewed; six fulfilled the selection criteria. None examined HRQOL among samples of the general population. None used dyspepsia-specific HRQOL instruments. Three studies contained four comparisons of HRQOL between functional dyspepsia patients and controls; two studies examined HRQOL changes in response to therapy. Two studies demonstrated a significant reduction at least in some domains of HRQOL among patients with functional dyspepsia compared to controls, while one study was negative. In general, studies that reported a decline in HRQOL Short Form-36 (SF-36) showed that changes in the physical domain were similar to those on mental domain of the SF-36.

Conclusions : There is some evidence for a decrease in HRQOL in patients with moderate to severe functional dyspepsia who seek care for their symptoms; however, more studies are needed. A therapeutic response in functional dyspepsia-related pain or discomfort might result in a corresponding improvement in HRQOL.