Objectives: Quantitative measures of the value patients place on the state of their health is crucial to understanding their experience, and to calculate quality-adjusted years of life for economic analyses. Patients' values in chronic liver disease remain unexplored, although experts' estimates of utilities have been examined. Our study tests the validity of a widely used utility measure in chronic liver disease and, if valid, establishes the decrement in health-related quality associated with chronic liver disease.
Methods: A total of 120 patients with chronic liver disease participated in the study (age 50 +/- 10 yr; men 53%; cirrhosis 51%, chronic viral hepatitis 51%, and chronic cholestatic liver disease 30%). All patients completed three instruments: Health Utility Index Mark 2 (scores 0-1), Short Form-36 (scale scores 0-100), and a disease-specific health-related quality of life instrument (Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire; scores 1-7).
Results: We found a moderate to strong correlation between scores on the three measures and that impairment worsened as the severity of disease worsened. Patients without cirrhosis and those with Child's A cirrhosis showed substantial decrement in utilities (0.82 and 0.83, respectively) in the range of patients surviving brain tumor. Those with Child's B and C showed a greater decrement (0.67 and 0.56) that was in the range experienced by patients who survive a stroke (0.67). Utilities assessed by Health Utility Index Mark 2 differed substantially from estimates by "expert."
Conclusions: We conclude that utilities should be based on patient reports and that the data from this study can inform economic analyses in studies of patients with chronic liver disease.