Objectives: Chronic pancreatitis may lead to considerable reduction in health-related quality of life, but factors associated with a poor perceived health status have not been investigated.
Methods: We recruited 265 patients with chronic pancreatitis from a tertiary care gastroenterology clinic. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the Short Form-36 Health Survey. Data were compared with age- and gender-adjusted values from the German general population (6964 adults). Factors associated with poor perceived health status were identified by logistic regression.
Results: All domains of health-related quality of life were reduced in chronic pancreatitis. Decrements were most pronounced in role limitations caused by physical (-25%) and emotional health problems (-15%), and general health perceptions (-19%). Severity of abdominal pain, chronic pancreatic diarrhea, low body weight, and loss of work independently contributed to the physical component score of the Short Form-36 (adjusted R2= 33.8%) and were the factors most closely associated with poor health status perception. The etiology and duration of the disease or changes in pancreatic morphology had no impact on health-related quality of life.
Conclusions: Patients with chronic pancreatitis experience substantial impairments in health-related quality of life. The severity of chronic pancreatitis-related symptoms is directly associated with patient function and well-being. These data offer further insight into the impact of chronic pancreatitis on patient health status and may serve as the basis for the development of disease-specific instruments, which are needed to measure the effect of therapeutic interventions on patient-derived health outcomes.