Study objectives: Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) often present with dyspnea and severe functional limitations, but their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has not been studied extensively. This study describes HRQOL in a cohort of patients with PAH.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: A tertiary care, university hospital-based, pulmonary hypertension (PH) clinic.
Participants: We studied HRQOL in 53 patients with PAH (mean age, 47 years; median duration of disease, 559 days). Eighty-three percent were women, 53% received epoprostenol, and 72% reported moderate-to-severe functional limitations with a New York Heart Association class 3 or 4 at enrollment.
Measurements and results: We examined HRQOL by administering the Nottingham Health Profile, Congestive Heart Failure Questionnaire, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. We used the Visual Analog Scale and standard gamble (SG) techniques to measure preferences for current health (utilities). Compared with population norms, participants reported moderate-to-severe impairment in multiple domains of HRQOL, including physical mobility, emotional reaction, pain, energy, sleep, and social isolation. Mean SG utilities were 0.71, suggesting that, on average, participants were willing to accept a 29% risk of death in order to be cured of PH.
Conclusions: PAH is a devastating condition that affects predominately young women in the prime of their life. Understanding HRQOL and preferences are important in the care and management of these patients. Compared with population norms, patients with PAH have substantial functional and emotional limitations that adversely affect their HRQOL.