Evaluating health-related quality of life in patients with polycystic liver disease and determining the impact of symptoms and liver volume



Background & Aims

Polycystic liver disease (PLD) follows a progressive course ultimately leading to severe hepatomegaly and mechanical complaints in a subset of patients. It is still unknown to what extent this compromises health-related quality of life (HRQL). Our aim was to determine HRQL in PLD patients and investigate its association with concurrent abdominal symptoms and liver volume.


Pooled data of 92 severe PLD patients from two randomized clinical trials were used for our cross-sectional analysis. HRQL was assessed using the generic short-form health survey (SF-36) resulting in eight scale scores and the summarizing physical (PCS) and mental component score (MCS). Subsequently, these were compared with the general population. Abdominal symptoms were measured with a standardized, 7-point scale questionnaire in 54 patients. We dichotomized symptoms for absence or presence and compared them with the component scores. Finally, a possible correlation between liver volume and HRQL was explored.


Demographics showed severe polycystic livers (mean 4906 ± 2315 ml). PCS was significantly lower compared with the general population (P < 0.001), in contrast with a similar MCS (P = 0.82). PLD patients had statistically significant (P < 0.05) diminished physical functioning, role physical, general health, vitality and social functioning scores. Upper- and lower abdominal pain and dyspnoea were significantly associated with a reduced PCS (P < 0.01). No correlation was found between liver volume and HRQL.


Polycystic liver disease patients had significantly lower HRQL in the physical dimension compared with the general population. Abdominal pain and dyspnoea had a significant impact on this physical dimension of HRQL.