Contributors to individual quality of life after liver transplantation


Dr Karolin Thiel, Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Tuebingen University Hospital, Hoppe-Seyler-Strasse 3, 72076 Tuebingen, Tel.: 0049 7071 2986600; fax: 0049 7071 294934; e-mail:


Eur J Clin Invest 2012


Background  With increasing improvements of patient survival after liver transplantation, the focus on outcome measures shifts from survival rate to quality of life. Individual quality of life is crucial to rehabilitate patients after transplantation. Therefore, it is important to identify specific issues that contribute to high individual quality of life. In contrast to the Short form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual aspects of Quality of Life-direct weighting (SEIQoL-DW) allows patients to name the areas of life, which are important to them.

Design  In a semi-structured interview style, 71 patients following liver transplant were asked to complete the SEIQoL-DW and the SF-36 in a cross-sectional design.

Results  We found five quality of life areas that were chosen by more than half of the patients: family, friends, sports, partnership and profession/occupation. Health was only mentioned by 45% of all patients. Individual quality of life did not differ from healthy population. In the SF-36, patients showed normal mental health parameters but reduced physical components. A strong correlation between SEIQoL-DW-Index and the mental component summary of the SF-36 was observed.

Conclusion  In addition to the widely used standardized SF-36, the individual measure SEIQoL-DW shows new aspects concerning the areas of quality of life, which are personally important to the participants. Less than half of our patients mentioned health and the five most nominated areas are not related to health. By focusing on health, the importance of health-related factors is overrated, and the impact of non-medical effects is underrepresented.