Aim: A positive effect of liver transplantation on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has been well documented in previous studies using generic instruments. Our aim was to re-evaluate different aspects of HRQOL before and after liver transplantation with a relatively new questionnaire the ‘liver disease quality of life’ (LDQOL).
Methods: The LDQOL and the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaires were applied to ambulatory patients, either in the transplant list (n=65) or after 6 months to 5 years of liver transplant (n=61). The aetiology of cirrhosis, comorbidities, model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) Child–Pugh scores and recurrence of liver disease after liver transplantation were analysed using the Mann–Whitney and Kruskall–Wallis tests.
Results: In patients awaiting liver transplantation, MELD scores ≥15 and Child–Pugh class C showed statistically significant worse HRQOL, using both the SF-36 and the LDQOL questionnaires. HRQOL in pretransplant patients was found to be significantly worse in those with cirrhosis owing to hepatitis C (n=30) when compared with other aetiologies (n=35) in 2/7 domains of the SF-36 and in 7/12 domains of the LDQOL. Significant deterioration of HRQOL after recurrence of hepatitis C post-transplant was detected with the LDQOL questionnaire although not demonstrated with the SF-36. The statistically significant differences were in the LDQOL domains: symptoms of liver disease, concentration, memory and health distress.
Conclusions: The LDQOL, a specific instrument for measuring HRQOL, has shown a greater accuracy in relation to liver symptoms and could demonstrate, with better reliability, impairments before and after liver transplantation.