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Summary

Objective  Cross-sectional studies have shown impaired quality of life (QoL) in patients in biochemical control of acromegaly. The aim of this study was to assess longitudinal changes in QoL in a homogenous cohort of patients with sustained biochemical control of acromegaly.

Design  Prospective follow-up study.

Patients and methods  QoL was assessed using four health-related QoL questionnaires (HADS, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; MFI-20, Multidimensional Fatigue Index; NHP, Nottingham Health Profile; and SF-36, Short Form-36) and one disease-specific acromegaly quality of life (ACRO-QOL) questionnaire in 82 patients (43 men) with strict biochemical control of acromegaly, aged 56 years (range 29–84 years) at baseline and after 4 years of follow-up. The mean duration of controlled disease was 12 years (range 1–26 years).

Results  During follow-up, scores in 5 of 26 QoL subscales significantly worsened: physical and social functioning (SF-36), physical fatigue (MFI-20), and psychological well-being and personal relations (ACRO-QOL). Using linear regression analysis, baseline item scores predicted the follow-up scores, indicating individual stability over time. Previous radiotherapy (n = 27, 33%) negatively influenced several QoL subscales at follow-up: energy, pain and social isolation (NHP), physical fatigue and reduction in activity and motivation (MFI-20), depression and total anxiety and depression scores (HADS) and physical performance (ACRO-QOL).

Conclusion  During 4 years of follow-up in patients with long-term biochemical control of ACRO-QOL is subtly, but progressively impaired. Radiotherapy was the predominant indicator of progressive impairment in QoL.