• liver transplantation;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • questionnaire

Abstract:  Objective:  To assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients following liver transplantation and the factors associated with HRQoL variation.

Methods and Materials:  Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected for 60 consecutive patients activated for liver transplantation in a single hospital. Patients were classified according to the severity of the cirrhosis (Child–Pugh class) and disease etiology (alcoholic cirrhosis, viral cirrhosis, cholestatic diseases, and hepatocarcinoma). HRQoL was assessed by three different questionnaires: the Health Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD), and a specific-symptom questionnaire. Questionnaires were completed during the pre-operative period and six months after transplantation.

Results:  In the pre-operative period, patients with Child A had higher mean levels of HRQoL than did those in other groups. At six months following transplantation, there were no significant differences among the groups, largely because gains obtained by patients with Child B and C were much greater than those attained by patients with Child A. Across the four etiological groups, there were significant differences in all domains of the three questionnaires, except SF-36-bodily pain and HAD-anxiety, prior to transplantation, because patients with hepatocarcinoma had much better HRQoL. After transplantation, there were no differences because patients with viral and alcohol-induced cirrhosis achieved greater gains with respect to the neoplastic group. During the pre-operative period, the scores for all areas of the SF-36 and for all groups were below the general population normalized score of 50 (except for patients with Child class A and those affected with hepatocarcinoma). Six-months post-transplantation, the scores on most of the domains remained below 50, except for certain mental areas in which higher scores were attained.

Conclusions:  Health-related quality of life is influenced by the severity and etiology of cirrhosis—patients with Child class C and those with alcoholic or viral cirrhosis have the poorest quality of life. There were no differences observed among the groups after the transplantation, as the patients with the lowest HRQoLs prior to surgery demonstrated greater gains in HRQoL associated with liver transplantation.