Background/aim: The impact of liver disease and medical complications on quality of life (QOL) and psychological distress before and after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is a matter of growing interest.
Methods: Perceived QOL (LEIPAD Quality of Life test) and psychological distress (Brief Symptom Inventory, BSI) were assessed in 40 cirrhotic patients listed for OLT (Group A) and in 101 liver transplant recipients (Groups B to G=0-6, 7-12, 13-24, 25-36, 37-48, 49-60 months post-OLT). Patients were also evaluated for medical complications, blood levels of immunosuppressive agents and recurrence of liver disease.
Results: QOL and psychological distress were significantly better in most of the post-OLT groups than in cirrhotic patients. Among post-OLT patients, a significantly worse QOL was perceived at 13-24 months (Life Satisfaction: Group D vs G, p=0.024; Cognitive Functioning: Group D vs F, p=0.024), while significantly greater psychological distress was detected at 7-12 months (Anxiety and Interpersonal Sensitivity: Group C vs Group B, p=0.032 and p=0.023, respectively). Medical complications and immunosuppressive therapy did not influence QOL or psychological distress after OLT. Within 6 months after OLT, patients with HCV recurrence showed significantly greater Depression (p=0.023), Anxiety (p=0.038), Phobic Anxiety (p=0.001), and Paranoid Ideation (p=0.033) than anti-HCV negative patients.
Conclusions: Liver transplantation improves psychological distress and most, but not all, QOL domains. Recurrent HCV infection is associated with greater psychological distress.