Objectives: Assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in studies of liver disease and liver transplantation is necessary. Reliable and valid disease-targeted HRQOL measures are thus needed. The objective of this study was to develop a reliable and valid self-report HRQOL instrument for ambulatory adults with chronic liver disease.
Methods: The Liver Disease Quality of Life instrument, LDQOL 1.0 (an HRQOL measure that uses the SF-36 as a generic core and 12 disease-targeted multi-item scales) was administered in a multicenter, cross-sectional field test to 221 ambulatory adults with advanced, chronic liver disease referred for primary liver transplantation evaluation. Disease-targeted scales included liver disease-related symptoms, liver disease-related effects on activities of daily living, concentration, memory, sexual functioning, sexual problems, sleep, loneliness, hopelessness, quality of social interaction, health distress, and self-perceived stigma of liver disease. We estimated the internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha) for multi-item scales and construct validity.
Results: Interial consistency reliability coefficients were excellent, ranging from 0.62 to 0.95, with 19 of 20 scales >0.70. Multitrait scaling analysis provided strong support for item discrimination across scales, and exploratory factor analysis demonstrated distinguishable physical, mental, and social health dimensions. Significant associations were found between worse HRQOL and worse Child-Pugh class, worse self-rated liver disease severity, and increased number of disability days.
Conclusions: The results of this multicenter field test provide support for the reliability and validity of the LDQOL 1.0 as an HRQOL outcome measure for individuals with chronic liver disease.