Although evaluation of the treatment of congestive heart failure is usually based on objective clinical outcomes, patient self-assessment is increasingly recognized as an important component of evaluation. A study was designed to measure the quality of life of 134 patients with symptoms of advanced heart failure who were being evaluated for possible heart transplantation. The patients' quality of life was assessed using a mix of subjective and objective measures, including functional status, physical symptoms, emotional state, and psychosocial adaptation. There was no significant relationship between patients' cardiac ejection fraction and any quality-of-life measures; however, the results of a 6-minute walking test, New York Heart Association classification, and self-reported functional status were all significantly correlated with psychosocial adjustment. Self-reported functional status, depression, and hostility accounted for 43% of the variance in total psychosocial adjustment to illness. These findings support the inclusion of quality of life as an outcome measure in any evaluation of treatment efficacy and suggest that interventions to improve the quality of life of patients with advanced heart failure need to be targeted at reducing depression and hostility and increasing daily activity levels.